Albums, Music, The Revue — September 24, 2018 at 5:05 am

Sleep Party People – ‘Lingering Pt. II’ (album review)

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Fifteen months ago, Brian Batz – the multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer, and songwriter behind Sleep Party People – took us through the rabbit hole and into a world of unearthly psychedelic dream-pop with Lingering. The album, which was one of the year’s most outstanding records, was an extraordinary experience into the cosmos and a journey into the brilliance of one man who has become a global star. This intergalactic voyage continues with Batz’s fifth record, the equally enrapturing Lingering Pt. II.

If Lingering is the escapade through space, Linger Pt. II is the descent through the black hole and the arrival into a new dimension. Like the start of every trip, uncertainty reigns over the start of the LP with the drifting instrumental “4th Drawer Down”. A solemn piano arrangement hovers over top celestial synths, giving the track a sense it belongs at the start of 2010: The Year We Make Contact. Instead of fear awaiting, jubilation is achieved, and the uplifting “The Mind Still Travels” is the realization that all is fine. A sweltering psychedelic-pop haze fills the air while Batz narrates the joy that overwhelms his young female protagonist. As he states, “she goes waving goodbye. She goes in sunshine”.

This excitement continues of the sumptuously vibrant “The Fallen Barriers”. The dizzying swirls of synths and percussion plus the bursts of guitar depict the Batz’s and his characters’ newfound freedom. He summons them to “unlock the gate and throw away the key” and descend into the deep unknown. They arrive at the album’s centerpiece, which is the stunning “Moving Cluster”. The track is an interstellar dream. A mind-altering bass line, hypnotic synths and keys, and groovy rhythms fill the air. Vibrant colors and sounds, as such, pop and burst in every direction, and the song reveals there is more to Batz’s imagination than originally expected.

A sombre moment arrives in the form of the brief, oft-kilter instrumental, “Renhoh 93″. It is like a cosmic siesta, where we can catch our breath and prepare for what is to come. Immediately after arrives “Outcast Gatherings”, and it is an exhilarating psychedelic adventure. Groovy rhythms bubble throughout the tune, and hypnotic synths, meanwhile, glisten like the lights bouncing off a disco ball. It’s a dance party set in the far reaches of space, and characters from all corners of the universe gather to celebrate their individuality. All the while, Sleep Party People is calling for the party goers to escape the darkness and enter the light. In this realm, everyone is accepted.

A black shadow emerges from the suspenseful “Push the Walls Aside”, on which Batz reminds the weary travelers that the escape from the past is only temporary. Hope, though, remains, and “Towering Trees” reveals it. Batz’s transcendent vocals and the fantasy-like melody creates a calming effect akin to one floating on water. This sea of dreams, though, exists in one’s mind, and memories of the touch of a loved one and the sweet notes of her skin are recalled. No matter how far one travels into the cosmic abyss, the need for human companionship lingers.

It’s not too late to return, and the race home occurs on “Echoing Childhood”. The urgent, psychedelic soundscape perfectly mirrors the desperation of the characters, who at all costs are trying to recapture what they knew. Although “it’s the end of time”, there is still a chance to rekindle the hope and joys of the past. To no longer be “lost in dreams containing a better life“, but instead to chase after them like when we were kids even if it means going back through time and space once again. With a soundtrack that first commenced with Lingering and continues with Lingering Pt. II, the journey will be unforgettable.

Lingering Pt. II is out now on Joyful Noise Recordings, and it is available on the usual streaming and purchasing sites. Alternatively, go directly to Bandcamp to pick it up.

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