Sleep In. was once marketed as the new project from Eric McNelis, who cut his teeth alongside scene staple Evan Weiss in The Progress. Sleep In.’s 2014 debut LP Settling was undoubtedly a conversation piece anchored in nostalgia for that project, its no-frills approach to angular indie rock diminished by its somewhat-star power. No longer searching for a point of entry, this Cherry Hill, NJ five-piece returns with the Tension & Release EP, their first for indie label Black Numbers.
Sleep In. began at the intersection between smoldering first impressions and charring afterthoughts, where the meat of their tracks negotiated between fireworks and graceful fades. The seven songs on Tension illustrate a different seesawing, whether in the band’s invertebrate guitars that split and fold, or vocals that cascade upwards beyond the confines of the EP’s cautious, yet bright rock construction. Instead of holding in their energy for one final explosion, the songs here truly find their sweet release, simmering to completion for delayed gratification and a continual process of exposure and exploration, whether in the drums that burble and snap or the storytelling that drifts inward more often than generalizing the band’s transitory phase
On Tension & Release, Sleep In. has finally found their comfort zone while not abandoning their original home base, a genre-agnostic offering that is more a reflection of a whole than the sum of its parts.
– James Cassar
Freelance Music Writer | Alternative Press + Modern Vinyl