Sleepy Sun’s Embrace LP exudes psychedelic ambience: a trippy, hazy sound world, long form guitar jams, often bewildering vocals which veer from exuberant screaming to sweet crooning. But the music by this San Francisco (by way of Santa Cruz) sextet exceeds the expectations set by any retro attributions: better, at least, to call it post-psych. And when they’re in full-on feedback and roaring jams mode – as on “White Dove” – Sleepy Sun are the poster children of the genre. The overlapping percussion and gradual buildup to a wall of sound on “New Age” is thrilling as well.
Still, what makes the group so appealing is their ability to veer quickly between performance demeanors. Underneath the gruff exterior of howling chants and vigorous, distortion-laden improvisations lies a core lyricism. Indeed, the alt-folk delicacy and duet vocals employed by Sleepy Sun during moments of repose – for instance, on the haunting “Golden Artifact” – may be some of their most memorable work. Embrace supplies excellent listening at both ends of the dynamic and mood spectrum.