Whimsical is an Indiana band who made quite a name for themselves back in the day. Their first album, 2000’s exquisitely-named Setting Suns Are Semi-Circles remains a cult-classic, dreampop with an emphasis on the pop. The band dissolved a couple of years later with the follow up only 90% finished—everyone adrift in confusion & ennui, the way all relationships end.
Time passes, and the heart longs for what it once had. The band got back together last year in order to complete the album, to transform their ellipsis into an exclamation point. And with Sleep To Dream, it’s finally happened.
The result sounds amazing; a little like Lush, only with more pop smarts; and a little like the Cranberries, only without the messiah complex & annoying vocal tics. Which is to say Sleep To Dream is better than both, and that is very good indeed. It only took one listen for Saint Marie Records, quickly making a name for itself as the most vital Dreampop label going, to beg to release it.
Guitarist and mastermind Neil Burkdoll seems incapable of playing an unmemorable guitar part. Just witness the way ‘Love Me’ explodes into shards of romantic bliss. Or the opening riff of ‘Surreal,’ as intricate & heart-tugging as anything Johnny Marr ever played.
Krissy Vanderwoude’s vocals cast a hypnotic spell. Hear how she simmers on ‘Beginning of the End,’ able to wring every last drop of emotion out of the melody until by the end of the song you’re lying on the floor, an emotional wreck. It’s heartbreaking to imagine most of this has gone unheard for over 15 years.
Sleep To Dream is a triumph, straight through to the epic closer ‘Part Of Me.’ The album is about finishing what you started in the face of impossible odds. It’s about keeping your promises. It’s about fulfilling the potential you never even knew you had.
There’s a song on here called ‘Beginning Of The End,’ but as Leonard Cohen once sang, every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. And with an album of new material scheduled for next year, this isn’t just a return. It’s a full-blown resurrection.