Sleep Station
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After The War
5/18/2004
 
Biography
MEMBERS:
Dave Debiak (vocals/guitar)
Brad Paxton (guitar)
Ryan Ball (bass)
Daniel Goodwin (drums)

"I will hide this way / while bombs drop everyday / just close my eyes and wait to die / They can take our lives / but my soul is yours and mine / and I love you Caroline." - "Caroline, London 1940" Writing a concept record about a war might seem a bit lofty for most bands, but if you consider Sleep Station's apt penchant for cinematic scope and big ideas, it's a perfectly logical muse. The band did, after all, paint a heartbreaking portrait with their debut -- and homage to an astronaut's panicked isolation on Hang in there Charlie and then once again on the recent Von Cosel EP (which was based on a real life 1930's doctor/patient TB love triangle), so what better setting for the extreme castes of topical human drama than a war, or better yet World War II. Front man Dave Debiak elucidates, "The first concept record I wrote came as an afterthought. I actually intended to make a movie yet had no means to produce it. I could never have come up with a budget to shoot, so I thought I would at the very least write a score for the film. Since then I have been thinking of things in a more cinematic mode." Sleep Stations carefully nuanced lyrical/musical ambitions are as much influenced by their sonic-fetishist impulse, as well as Dave's hermetic work ethic. Debiak, along with drummer/percussionist Daniel Goodwin, bassist Ryan Ball and guitarist/arranger Brad Paxton, recorded much of After The War at their collective home studio Electric Fence in New Jersey leaving the audiophiles room to fully explore, tweak and expand until they were sated. Hoping to incorporate as much equipment from the era as possible -- "We actually recorded a good portion of the record on vintage 1940's set ups, ribbon and mushroom microphones and a few old amps. It was amazing that this it all worked as well as it did. The end result sounds better than most of what we have access to today." adds Debiak, speaking of the album's vast warmth. Regardless of subject matter or sonic subtext -- it's clearly Debiak's role as narrator that truly captivates, his empathy for the individuals he has created coupled with the band's sonic blast of 70's AM Gold is wholly engrossing. After The War lands lush and mournful, contrasting perfectly against the band's sanguine song-craft. The record unfolds as a parade of characters weave in and out of the songs, tales of hope and longing collide with a bitter expanse of humanity -- all the while amplified by the backdrop of conflict. Debiak expands, " The thread of one soldier's story as the central focus through the entire album, but also songs to provide outside context. The songs serve more as a montage, a compliment of viewpoints to the soldier's singular experience within the war." The record's various vignettes are abutted by found sounds filling out the mix, further blurring any distinction between song and story. As Debiak purges these delicate and soaring tales from his psyche he is giving voice to a world that thankful isn't wholly his, but ultimately as open ended as the listener dare dream - a beautiful concept indeed.