SLEEPWALKERS, the combined genius of Alex DeJong, Austin York, Brad Heef, and Michael York based out of Richmond, VA, released their debut album Greenwood Shade on July 11th. They’re upbeat, and familiar, but, at the same time, fresh. The best way I can describe their sound is a newer twist on the classics (The Kinks, maybe even The Beatles)–infectious melodies and raw instrumentals–combined with flowing vocals and layers of clapping, whistling, and echoing background vocals acting as instruments themselves. In an interview with Richmond.com, Michael, on guitar and vocals, said of their sound “It is every type of genre. That’s what we like to do” and Austin, on bass and vocals, adds “We didn’t want to make a rock album or a pop album or a funk or soul album, but we wanted to put all of it together.” They aren’t confining themselves to one specific type of music, which gives them the freedom to just create good tunes without the pressures to define what they are and aren’t.
My favorite tracks from the album are “Off On the Weekend”, “Image”, and “Hurricane”, but each has something to love. There is continuity throughout the album: they’ve obviously found what works for them, but they’ve infused each track with something different, so the album doesn’t get stale after a few listens. I’d be really interested to hear SLEEPWALKERS live because the undeniable energy behind each track indicates to me that their live set would probably be pretty stellar. Listening to this album is easy; I’ve had it on repeat for the past two hours and I’m not planning on turning it off anytime soon. I’m really excited to see where SLEEPWALKERS goes. Keep it up guys.