MP3: Sleeper – Ice House
Paul Olsen’s year-long hiatus from songwriting was meant to clear his head, and prepare him for the ambitious solo project that would become Sleeper. When Olsen returned to music in mid-2011, he became involved in several collaborative projects — presumably to get back into the swing of things. Then he started to focus on his own songs; he didn’t want to just write his own songs, but produce and master them as well, “in order to achieve cohesion and spiritual significance, ultimately resulting in a candid tonal self-portrait.”
Olsen’s influences range everywhere from Pink Floyd and Queen to The Mars Volta and Biggie Smalls. Yet on his six-song self-titled EP, his sound is rooted fairly well in prog-rock and folk, with a dramatic and rising vocal delivery easily taking a cue from the wistful and often bombast vocals of Cedric Bixler-Zavala. Even on a gentle acoustic trickler like “Big Sur”, soaring backing vocals complement a gentle lead; an anthemic flair is present even in Olsen’s most intimate efforts.
Above we have an MP3 of the opener, “Ice House”. Accompanied by beautiful streaming acoustic arpeggios and perky whistles, Olsen’s voice is high-pitched at the beginning of each verse, before descending to a more brooding plateau. His twinkling vocal range guides most of the tracks on Sleeper, but his lively and infectious compositions certainly play a vital role as well.