From the land of cheesesteaks, soft pretzels, Phillies, Eagles, and Rocky Balboa comes a prog band named even the slept. They are in training: playing live, writing and recording, sparring every day, taking punches and throwing a few more. Their recently released EP, Sinks the Ocean, is more than a warm-up, it’s a prizefighter. Yo Adrian, buy this EP.
Many folks may think that Philadelphia, long a tour destination for top prog bands, can only produce homegrown soul bands like The Roots. Philly does have plenty of soul. But they also love their progressive music. When former Gov. Ed Rendell was Mayor and YES was scheduled to perform at one of the downtown arenas, he invited the band members to his house for an afternoon cook-out. He also invited 100-200 close friends. It was the hottest ticket in town.
And now there is another hot ticket in even the slept. Their iconic pop styling sets them apart from other progressive rock bands. Their influences cross diverse genres like we cross the Broad Street. Bossanova, pop, prog-metal all blend together in some kind of special drink. Be thirsty, my friends.
According to their biography on myspace, the band members met while searching online for the best BBQ places in North Carolina. How they conspired to choose Philly is anyone’s guess and they aren’t ones to provide answers to silly questions. Let it go at that- BBQ, North Carolina and now Cheesestaks in Philly.
even the slept’s melodies jump ahead and behind the music, a staccato vocal dance daring us to follow with our ears. Lead singer Chris Young channels Sting, Roger Waters, Jared Leto, & Greg Lake. His notes are pure and clear; he’s the uncracked liberty bell pulling you into the music…and before you are aware, his scream/growl of metal is dancing in your head too. His range is so broad and his tone is pure as virgin snow or rough as a gravel road. I’m jealous, envious, and awestruck.
Then there are his lyrics. According to the band he is studying for an advanced degree in creative writing. With lyrics like these from their opening song, The Oculus, we are left wondering how deep and far he can go:
She was methodical, exotic and sensual
She was meticulous, a natural at all things unnatural
I screamed I’m unavailable
But she knew my every move
Wretch, you’re a momentary thrill
But she knew my every move
And then there is this, from the fourth track, Carbon Copy
Tear down your habits of thought
And swerve toward accord
A new day has rendered itself
To save you from you
The band charges through the music like a thoroughbred at Philadelphia Park. There is no hesitation, wasted measures, no drifting through a musical passage until the next solo is slated to begin. even the slept understands there is power in a well-arranged song.
A bossanova style beat opens on the third track, New China, and by the song’s conclusion, a wailing guitar is skipping across the scales, in a progression worthy of Coldplay or U2. You’ve forgotten that this song started somewhere else, with a tropical beat. You are lost in the moment. Great music is defined in this way. You aren’t scrolling back for the better part of the song because you won’t find it. Just enjoy the ride.
This is music made effortless and we are carried through each song with a confidence more fitting for a band with 8 albums and 6 world tours under their belt. Even if we stumble, are interrupted by the phone or, God forbid, a text message; we step back into the music and even the slept calls forth their magical progressions to mesmerize us once again.
Suddenly, the opponent is down. The songs are over. No! We wanted a full 9 rounds, not a knockout in the second round. Boo! Give us more songs! More songs! More songs! EP’s suck! We want a full album! Damn you even the slept! Spies!!!
even the slept is a five-piece band of transplant musicians from across the eastern seaboard who met while surfing for NC-style BBQ joints on Craigslist. ETS has been compared to The Mars Volta, Tool, Sparta, Circa Survive, Soundgarden, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Yes, Genesis and Menudo. Comparisons aside, ETS has crafted a sound that is surprisingly their own blending blues, rock, prog rock, spanish flamenco music, pinch harmonics, dive bombs and flamboyant vocal runs into something compelling. Get some.
Chris Young – Vocals
Ryan McMurray – Guitar
Kevin Gauntner – keyboard
Kurt Whiting – Bass
J Mello – Drums
Demos – released March 2009
Sinks the Ocean EP – released July 5th, 2011
1. the oculus 2. the jig 3. new china 4. carbon copy 5. one against one too many