If you’re looking for your soundtrack to run away from home or to move on with your life, The Cerny Brothers‘ Sleeping Giant is it! With stunning instrumentals, clever lyrics, and pure heart, the band manages to give words and swelling sounds to the little moments that leave us often struggling to formulate words.
“Porch Lights” is truly desperation to its core. This is every small town kid whose ambitions rattled in their chest like an caged animal. The track has a very powerful presence, and is a brilliant introduction to Sleeping Giant. It’s bright, and sets the album’s tone beautifully, perhaps even going against the title, and illustrating the “sleeping giant” awakening. Throughout the album, there appears to be a constant desire to run away, and explore life, seen on tracks like “The Kid,” and the band seems to do it without unnecessary “angsty” moments.
Despite the folk core, there is an element of classic rock to “Heart In a Bottle.” This is the kind of song that you drive down a long, seemingly-endless road, each line blaring in your speakers. The contrasting vocals remind me of listening to The Eagles as a kid and realizing that this was the sound I was missing; the sound I’d been looking for to describe everything. It’s expressive, raw, and has such an irresistible quality to it, especially when paired with the stunning storytelling element that remains consistent (“Tears Always Fall,” “Nightburn”), including indie rom-com epiphany soundtrack worthy tracks like “Leaving Town.”
However, it is the rich quality of “Shaking The Blues” that truly stands out. The song is fantastically written, with lines like, “Walkin’ around in these shoes, oh, I’m just trying to shake off these blues.” The blend of melodics and harmonics aid in the fusion of folk instrumental style and pure soul, once again showcasing The Cerny Brothers’ impressive storytelling chops (“I’m not your dad, I won’t leave what I have. It don’t matter what we go through…”). With tracks like “Shaking The Blues” and “Words Like a Rock,” it’s obvious that we can expect great things from this group, with their youthful sophistication (“I Want You Tonight”), and words of startling wisdom (“Middle of Winter”).
“Middle Of Winter” is so tongue in cheek, but also quite beautifully pieced together. It presents this idea of both a plea to work on a relationship and a desire to run away. The song documents what many of our grandparents already know: love is not just passion and the good times; love is work, especially when you add life on top of it. This is not where the band’s wise-beyond-their-years moment comes to a halt. On the soft, melancholy “Blue Blue Water,” listeners will be stunned by the gentle instrumental. This is the perfect illustration of doing everything you can to love someone and to prove yourself to someone, but coming up short. This comes across as either unrequited love, or a couple that’s broken up, and is still trying to move on. It’s got this raw, acoustic performance vibe to it; I can almost see the stool and single mic on stage, with one, pure spotlight.
“Lonely Seas” finishes Sleeping Giant off with the question: “Why am I sad if my life is so good?” With vocal play contrasting with simple instrumentals, the track is a great end for the album, seemingly reflecting the inward struggle of feeling bad and lonely, despite the fact that life isn’t as bad as it could be. But that’s why albums like this exist; to give words and melodies to the things we cannot describe. The more I listen to The Cerny Brothers’ Sleeping Giant, the more I find it to be a hauntingly brilliant piece of art.
Sleeping Giant is out NOW.
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