Art of Sleeping seem pretty advanced in the music game, despite the fact that Shake Shiver is their debut album. With EP Like a Thief, they showed how they manipulate songs to jump from emotion to emotion, and also back this up with well structured songs. With Caleb Hodges at the helm and taking on the song writing duties, he’s created almost a concept album here, which is based around an encounter with a girl (what else is the best music written about, eh?), and the emotional torment you’d expect to come with it.
Straight away the album delivers to us a sense of uniqueness, which is seen throughout the record. Win Your Heart sets gentle sounds against fast-paced drums, which makes for an intriguing contrast, and more than just a run of the mill opening song. Nice guitar hooks push the track along into a big chorus’ as we get the first taste of ‘the girl’, as Caleb sings: ‘I was only there for you to win your heart’.
Crazy manages to keep the originality going, and is a strong effort; playful rises and falls between drums and heavy guitar push forward the song’s big influence, and the music leaves you wondering what will happen next, in a good way.
The band also still manages to come up with tracks that don’t just rely on clever hooks and musical changes, showing how polished they already are. I Could Make You Happy’s slow and steady pace allows the emotion-filled lyrics to get good and stuck in your head, whereas I’m not the One’s chorus hits you like a freight train, before settling down again into a simple but effective rhythm.
On top of this, Art of Sleeping also know how to deal with a stripped back and heartfelt number, in the shape of Burning Bright. Starting off with these qualities, the guitar is barely heard over Caleb’s vocals, as he sings in a raw and honest voice about heartbreak and loneliness. This gently builds into layered vocals of passion and pain, and is a brilliant edition to the record.
As mentioned before, the theme of ‘the girl’ runs throughout, and is handled beautifully by insightful lyrics, ending in the feeling that you know more about this complex woman than you care to admit; she’s become a character in your head, and Calebs lyrics have made her into a real person for you. This is a sign of a good songwriter, and Shake Shiver is an impressive debut from a band knowing exactly what they want out of an album.