Shuteye Unison press /album reviews: Been listening to this several times through whilst doing a bit of ironing, yes I multi-task, and it really helped me through it to be sure. If I was to be lazy and use an easy genre to casually put this in then I would say 'shoegazing', but of course I would never do that, heaven forbid! The sound I think harkens back to a few English bands that I could name, Ride for one, and Swervedriver another. The songs are generally long, though not all, and they build and then go through that hypnotic repetitive thing that has you nodding along with a thousand yard stare in your eyes. Some of it is a little math-rock but not overly complicated, and maybe a tad Karate before they found jazz. They also remind me a bit, in places, of Solea, a band I really love. 6 tracks, some nice samples, one from Fulham v. Reading 10.3.07 (!), and an excellent production that has everything nice and clear and powerful. The vocals are of the 'dreamy' sounding kind and the artwork has a very cool Native American theme, as do the lyrics in places I think, though that could just be me. The record label, Parks and Records, amongst other things says it is working in a way to try and reduce waste on packaging etc and also work with other organizations to make our planet greener, which you've got to wholeheartedly support! So, a release that I can only highly recommend on all levels. - Suspect Device Reviews (UK) So I've been meaning to listen to this self-titled Shuteye Unison EP for like f***ing forever now so I won't dilly dally here. It begins with the ambient/atmospheric/instrumental intro of "CRF 030608" and segues right into "Tomorrow's Five Horizons" which sounds (to me) like what M83 might sound like if they didn't have synthesizers and weren't neutered. Next comes "Fields Landing" which starts off slow and breathy but about 2/3 of the way through the fuzzed out guitars rip the song wide open but at a running time of over seven minutes, there is plenty to go around even before it gently fizzles. "Latin Metrics" (a song whose title I really like) is more upbeat in a Pinback-y sorta way before "Slow Ravens" rings out a bit like Dream Signals In full Circles (albeit with breathy vocals) at first until it too erupts like thunder and lightning on summer night. Shuteye Unison then closes out the EP with the nine minute epic "Through Dunes." It all adds up to an EP that should have been on my best of 2008 short list and the first thing in this dreamy post-rock genre that has really impressed me lately. The compositions are intricate and lengthy but never come remotely close to boring. I'd say that this San Fransisco trio (all three members were formerly in The Rum Diary) has a bright future. Have a listen. - Can you See the Sunset Here's a record you will play for your friends. Shuteye Unison's debut on Parks and Records is a swelling, dramatic release, hearkening back to the days of Sunny Day Real Estate, and, dare I say, Clarity era Jimmy Eat World. Relaxed and warm, Shuteye Unison sound like an instrumental band... who just happen to have a lead singer. Daniel McKenzie, Jon Fee and Jake Krohn may as well be one unit, as their individual roles are hardly identifiable. No really. I couldn't find information on the band or who does what. Either way, it doesn't matter. They are a cohesive unit, the most since Silversun Pickups popped up on my radar several years ago. "Fields Landing" bends the band's shoegazer tendencies into rock opera; at 7 minutes 54 seconds, it still feels too short. "Slow Ravens" and "Tomorrow's Five Horizons" are plausible singles, but hardly trite. The former is their most direct link to the classic SDRE debut, Diary, and the latter is the band peaking in a layered and moving anthem. Shuteye Unison have serious potential if they prove themselves to be more than a splinter group of The Rum Diary (of which all three members hail). It's difficult to go from up and coming underground buzz band to fledgling underground buzz band, especially if you stay local to the scene your previous band once inhabited. Regardless, the debut is an excellent start to something. I'm looking forward to finding out what that 'something' might be... Spoiler alert: it'll probably be another record, or a tour. Both are good things. - Radio Exile Though the band itself is relatively new, the members of Shuteye Unison are no strangers to the Bay Area music scene, which may explain why their debut feels so fully realized in effort and execution. Picking up where their excellent former outfit the Rum Diary left off, singer/guitarist Daniel McKenzie, singer/bassist Jon Fee, and drummer Jake Krohn continue their venture into the post-/noise-rock terrain, crafting dreamy hypnotic melodies with bass, drums, shining guitar, and hushed vocals, which intertwine into a mesmerizing mix. Ghostly closer 'Through Dunes' builds as a head-nodding narcoleptic track, then culminates into a crashing wave of noise. Atmospheric yet hook-filled. - East Bay Express, The Best Music of 2008, Top 10! Out on the socially responsible Parks and Records label, Shuteye Unison's debut is packaged in 100% recycled/reused packaging, and a percentage of it's sales goes to several environmental foundations. Neat stuff for sure, but the real good news is that the music is pretty damn good. This trio, formerly known as The Rum Diary, plays epic, expansive indie rock that is remarkably engaging. Shoegazey 'Tomorrow's Five Horizons' reminds me of top-line The Brother Kite material, while nine minute dream-rock epic 'Through Dunes' is beautifully lush and sprawling. 'Fields Landing,' meanwhile, is closer in spirit to Three Mile Pilot's damaged rock dirge (they share their producer with 3MP), and 'Slow Ravens' is loose and unwound. A dreamy mini-album that is uniformly solid, Shuteye Unison's debut provides a memorable dose of inventive indie rock. Keep an eye out for these guys. - indieville.com Shuteye Unison is the offshoot of one of my favorite Bay Area bands, The Rum Diary (this is assuming you consider the farmland north of Marin County to still be the 'Bay Area', which I do). Like their predecessor, they could be lumped into the vague genre of 'Post Rock', a genre I've never really been able to describe but always know it when I hear it...I think it might have something to do with tuning or maybe how many band members wear sweaters, I'll have to get back to you on that. Anyways, if you know the Rum Diary then you could probably correctly guess that Shuteye Unison sounds fairly reminiscent of them, but with a slightly poppier edge in a Pinback sort of way. You could also throw in some Mogwai and Helio Sequence references, if you were feeling cheeky. The Rum Diary never got the respect they deserved in my opinion - Here's to hoping Shuteye Unison is able to grab a few more hearts and minds, because the music they produce certainly warrants it. (3.5 out of 5) - SLAP Magazine This is seriously good, you should pay some attention to this one. It gets off to an odd start though, with a wall of post rock guitar effects that have me reaching for the skip button. Luckily, once we get on to the songs proper, things are much improved. Quite often around this time of year, I dig out that Antarctica CDEP from several years ago, and start wondering why I can't seem to find any other bands that play that kind of spaced out, ethereal indie rock (because most bands that play that kind of thing are too obsessed with aping My Bloody Valentine to be worth listening to). Shuteye Unison nail it, dealing in long songs full of spacey guitars and effects, with drifting, smooth vocals that are amidst the mix but not drowned out or indecipherable. It is a very dreamlike sound that they have, and it suits this time of year to perfection. Damn fine EP all round here, I look forward to hearing where they go next, as I have a feeling it's going to be rather special. - Collective Zine UK The recipe for a decent "post-rock" track is deceptively simple: carefully mix crashing waves of reverb-laden guitars, pounding drums, a reluctance to include lyrics to match the music, and a love for multiple, humongous crescendos in one song; then, let it set for six to seven minutes. If done correctly, out pops the perfect background music for a variety of scenarios: baby-making, burning out, and philosophical conversations come quickly to mind. Personally, I blame Sigur Ros, not because they weren't the first to effectively combine these elements to critical acclaim, but because they were the first to bring it into the contemporary pop music consciousness. When your music can be found in the same iTunes library alongside that of Jack Johnson, you know that you've taken a wrong turn somewhere. So, how does one actually craft a "post-rock" album that can be discerned from the average Explosions In The Sky wannabe act? Well, if you're three-piece act Shuteye Unison, you accomplish this by injecting a healthy dose of pop and decent lyrics alongside those layers of guitars, bass, and drums. Their six-song, eponymous debut EP rings in at 31 minutes, giving the band ample time to set up each track's basic dream-pop pattern before building up to the inevitable grand conclusion. The shimmering, chiming guitars and meditative passages of "Tomorrow's Five Horizons" provides for a fine introduction to the band's sound, and "Through Dunes," with it's ability to create the sensation of watching black storm clouds break to reveal a blue sky, is an excellent concluding bookend for the whole project's atmosphere. While their music isn't the most complex in their scene, Shuteye Unison is a welcome addition to a genre that's become a bit tiresome and repetitive in output. - Dryvetyme Onlyne ...a great spin on atmospheric indie rock. The rhythms and hooks are tight as a freaking drum while the guitar and vocals noodles up above somewhere amongst the clouds and unicorns. - When We Were Younger and Better (blog) Shuteye Unison is a new band formed by two members of the Rum Diary. Atmospheric guitars, with loud-soft dynamics and melodic bass lines will appeal to fans of Pinback, Three Mile Pilot, Mogwai, and The Police. Shuteye Unison starts where the Rum Diary left off, but with more straightforward beats, and louder guitars. A definite must for anyone into epic rock! - AMP Magazine Only 6 songs here but this North Bay trio are impressive at creating dreampop soundscapes that don't come off as boring or uninspired. There's a lot more going on that the typical dreampop tune like on the sweeping, cascading 'Tomorrow's Five Horizons' which swoops n' sways all the while having a solid rhythm section holding it on terra firma while 'Latin Metrics' slips into a warm groove with rollicking drums and mysterious vocals courtesy of Daniel McKenzie and 'Slow Ravens' creeps along like the best Pinback tune. - Dagger Shuteye Unison rose out of the burnt embers of The Rum Diary. While this act remained relatively unknown, the tricking and somewhat soothing sounds of Shuteye Unison's new record, a self titled affair which totals in at just over thirty minutes, will surely guarantee them at least a modicum of success. Bearing in mind these links, regular readers will soon note that this isn't the first time we have covered these young fellows. The Rum Diary were succinctly described in our Tracking the Trends series as "one of California 's more interesting bands" and having "a stunning work of art in it's midst." Kind words, but now it's time to see whether Shuteye Unison can live up to the reputation of their previous incarnation. Thankfully, they do not disappoint. Shuteye Unison offers similar genre swapping and splicing that was clearly favoured in The Rum Diary, but musically they have come on leaps and bounds. The compositions featured on this self-titled record are incandescent wonders. Flitting between spaced out and dreamy vocals that would make My Bloody Valentine proud, as well as darker pieces like "Fields Landing," which features Bradford Cox vocal atmospherics over a dark American voiced sample and what can essentially be described as Texas Chainsaw Massacre noises, Shuteye Unison have clearly increased their musical repertoire. For those who prefer their music wholly instrumental, Shuteye Unison is not for you. However, if you can stomach someone flexing their vocal chords, this record offers a real treat for your passive ears. Moving between tribal-come-dub murmurings much in the same vein as Pocahaunted as well as a pre-occupation with primordial mutterings such as the sun, shadows and water, you cannot deny that Shuteye Unison manage to compress an awful lot into this rather short offering. The only qualm I had with the lyricism is that it did border on dreaded trite territory, such as in the aforementioned "Fields Landing" where the singer's interest with the "party tonight" sounds like the inane mutterings of the fellow on Weezer's "Undone - The Sweater Song" as opposed to anything truly interesting or, dare I say it, "deep". While Shuteye Unison do move between any genre they sit fit, opener and the final composition, "CRF030608" and "Through Dunes" feature a bubbling ambient piece which, while it isn't in fitting with the rest of the record, is a soothing addition that adds wonders to the overall effort. All in all, while it's a relatively short affair, Shuteye Unison's debut has a somewhat hypnotic affect on the listener and comes strongly recommended. - The Silent Ballet I wish it was autumn. That's the first thing I thought of as the new Shuteye Unison self-titled debut spun around in the Ripple CD player, it's gentle tones sparkling through the speakers. I wish it was autumn. It's hard to explain, but something about the music, the dreamy, shimmering indie pop of Shuteye Unison just makes me think of brisk autumn days, a cool breeze lilting through the trees, rustling the leaves, stirring them to revel in their glorious tones of red, orange and gold. A simple melancholy floating through the air heralding the coming of the darker winter nights. The glistening of the first morning dew on the front lawn, a harbinger of the arrival of the imminent frost. That's Shuteye Unison. Now, it certainly doesn't hurt that autumn is my favorite season. There's just something about nature in autumn as it prepares to sleep. The simple joys of reaching for my favorite sweater, the heat of the summer finally past. The chill in the air makes me introspective, a time for solitary walking, crunching the fallen leaves under my hiking shoes, the flip-flops and sandals safely packed away for the season. It's a time for taking stock of my life, for recharging my energies. Time to start a meditative journey. That's Shuteye Unison. I never had the pleasure of hearing The Rum Diary, but when they went on hiatus, three of the members (Daniel McKenzie, Jon Fee and Jake Krohn) began to write and record together. Their muse inspired, Shuteye Unison was born. Self-recorded and mixed with Pall Jenkins (The Black Heart Procession, Three Mile Pilot)l, the band displays a wealth of texture and restraint. This is dreamy, glistening alt-pop, instantly accessible, shimmering in it's tone and downright beautiful in it's scope. An ambient, post-punk dreamscape of textures, looping bassline and sparkling guitars. It is an album of patience and quiet, of mood and intent, spiked with enough muscle to propel the songs through to the end. It is an album of infinite complexity and sublime simplicity. Starkly somber in tone, yet ultimately uplifting. Grand, yet intimate. It is contradictions within itself, yet as clear as a newborn autumn morning. To my ear, Shuteye Unison recall some of the best hypnotic alt-pop of days gone by. The floating dreaminess of the Cocteau Twins. The vocal tone and melodies of my personal favorites The Lotus Eaters. Shades of David Sylvian. Hints of Autolux. The ambiance of the more introspective 4AD label. The album is dense, but not suffocating, a streak of light shimmering off a still pool. Beginning with the ambient intro 'Crf030608,' it doesn't take long for the vision of this band to be revealed. 'Tomorrow's Five Horizons,' rides on a melodic bass line, a throbbing drum sequence right into the soaring guitars. The song is one seamlessly lush hook. An effortless atmospheric journey through passages of soaring beauty and lulling quiet. A warning of a future ecologic apocalypse told with a rapturous chorus and delicate harmonies. It is a stunning work of subtle beauty. 'Fields Landing,' follows, a mournful, almost pre-war feeling, with the drums marching out a beat similar to a weary army trudging reluctantly through a muddy field. The melancholy synthesized tone, near bagpipe like in quality, add to this feeling, a Scottish Loch, a misty, green hill of grass. But this isn't a war song, it's a journey, a search for sanctuary. And finally, when the guitar crashes in with vigor, the song launches into it's own time and place. Throughout the song, as the entire album, the hushed vocals are an instrument, adding a delicate touch of fragility, a tone, a hint, rather than a focus. The overall effect is striking. 'Latin Metrics,' rides a stuttering drum beat through the shimmering guitar, creating wave after wave of hypnotizing post-rock. The drumming on 'Slow Ravens,' sucks me in like a kid looking down a well, dreaming and imaging what strange universes dwell inside. Moments of fury strike through the chiming guitar tones, chords of aggression, driving this song more urgently than those that came before. This is probably my favorite track, if I was forced to pick one, but in truth, the six tracks here, including the final nine-minute opus, 'Through the Dunes,' all act together as one unified whole, a transportation into a lush, atmospheric world. A warping of dimensions to the ambient, tuneful place that is Shuteye Unison. I've heard that the group is already at work writing and recording their next album for the Park and Records label, an eco-friendly music venture based outside of San Francisco. If the six songs on this extended EP are any inclination of the majestic beauty that is still to come, I'll be there. Wood crackling in the fireplace, my window open to allow in the chill of the autumn night, my stereo turned up loud for the music to engulf me, and as the boys suggest, a Guiness in my hand. Autumn. Always my favorite time of year. - The Ripple Effect This CD first caught our attention because it is on the Parks and Records label. We have made particular mention of this cool little label in the past because the folks running it seem to have the right ideas about making music as well as the world in general. Not only that, they also seem to have the right idea about what constitutes good music. Speaking of...Shuteye Unison is an interesting new band. These folks create slightly hazy melodic progressive pop/rock that sounds something like a cross between Pinback and Starflyer 59. Shuteye Unison is the trio consisting of Daniel McKenzie, Jon Fee, and Jake Krohn all of whom are also involved in other musical projects. This self-titled CD is short...lasting just over half an hour. But these six songs are extremely strong and hold up to many repeated spins. Cool, catchy, thought provoking stuff for intelligent listeners. Recommended. (Rating: 5++) - Babysue.com It's (Shutyeye Unison's) just-released debut is festooned with dreamy guitar and melodic bass, and hushed vocals riding coolly over the beautiful yet somewhat melancholic terrain. - East Bay Express The album is flexible on many levels. It's complicated enough to be dissected if you're so disposed, but can just as easily be experienced as a passive ride. It's broad and expansive, yet simultaneously intimate. It is every bit as complicated as you want it to be, yet no more so than you'd like (no matter where you choose to draw that line). Shuteye Unison is one of those rare bands that seems poised for film scoring. They capture moods without being focused on hooks or cleverness. It's not a riff, but a feeling that this album burns into your brain. - Bob Vinyl Post-rock has a history! Seemingly the most ahistorical of the many contemporary veins of indie rock, this stuff is now divisible into distinct eras and movements. While some groups seized upon the quiet/loud dynamics and abrasive chord structures of pioneering Kentucky band Slint, others based their sound on the jazzy exploration of Tortoise and the various Kinsella projects. Some bands bridge the gap between plodding metal and air experimentation. These guys, Shuteye Unison, are reminiscent of mid-period Mogwai, with plenty of '90s emo influence thrown in. This is a successful, seemingly effortless debut from three veteran Northwest indie rockers. Shuteye Unison are a three-piece, and they make good use of their limited instrumentation. Chiming guitar figures and vocal counterpoints create memorable melodies, no small achievement within this style. Meanwhile the drums and bass lay down a compellingly energetic rhythmic base. There are feedback swells aplenty. Most of these songs stay fairly even, both in structure and and volume, ceding the spotlight to the very nice emo-ish vocalizing. 'Fields Landing' is the exception that proves the rule -- here the noodly guitar line gives way to a series of violent syncopated hits that shatters the carefully structured groove before settling into a louder version of same. Released via bassist Jon Fee's ecologically centered label Parks and Records, this comes packaged simply in a recycled cardboard sleeve, adorned with a simple screenprinted logo and track listing. The organic feel of the music, the sense that they were created out of some free-form jamming, is complemented by the DIY packaging, just as some of the lyrical themes are reflected in the label's mission statement. This is a compelling listen, which benefits from a completeness and attention to detail evident in both the music and the way it is present. (7.5 / 10) - 30music.com "Tomorrow's Five Horizons" gloriously kicks in after the instrumental waves of the opener "Crf030608?. The song is rapturous in it's scope as it brings to mind the tendencies of bands like Autolux and Silversun Pickups. The seven-minute "Fields Landing" starts off quietly with a spoken word piece once again portraying the band's ability to create their own space and time. The song is almost post-rock in it's patient approach. "Latin Metrics" and "Slow Ravens" continue where "Tomorrow's Five Horizons" left off. The band is simply hypnotizing with the striking moods they create. - Sound as Language Add a little fire and water and San Francisco trio Shuteye Unison could be one of the few bands to incorporate all four elements into it's being. With it's debut on the new Bay Area indie label Parks and Records - which was co-founded by bassist/vocalist Jon Fee and espouses a rather grounded mission that includes recycled album packaging and contributions for environmental preservation - it certainly has the earth part down. And with soaring shoegaze melodies awash in cloudgrazing bliss, there's enough air circulating in the band's sound to make any listener feel like flying in euphoria. Fee and guitarist/vocalist Daniel McKenzie conjure lush sonic soundscapes, less rooted in the post-punk percussion of their previous band, The Rum Diary (now on hiatus). With Jake Krohn (The Action Design) on drums, they craft a rather noteworthy offering of dream-pop here that bursts in classic 4AD ethereality - from the tone-setting ambient instrumental "CRF 030608" to the cinematic "Fields Landing," which builds from a sample of backwoods film dialogue, Indian drones and lingering, Sigur Ros-like wails into a paced post-rock meditation on distortion and liberation: "Once you're in a crash / It's always too soon to land." Feedback obfuscates some lyrics with high-toned falsettos blending into the scenery and whispers and breaths becoming instruments on their own, as on "Latin Metrics" where they buoy the song's polyrhythmic textures. When the subdued vocals peep through on epic closer "Through Dunes" - which is saturated with a My Bloody Valentine melodic glow, hollers taken from a real-life rally and noisy fuzz layers - they beckon listeners to freedom: "Lose yourself in a crowd / Before you can be found." Barely passing the half-hour mark, Shuteye Unison's debut culminates into an intensely gratifying listen that breezes by - before you know it, the wind flow you've been caught up in safely guides you to touch back down on Earth. - West Coast Performer Atmospheric rock can be pretty hit or miss -- all too often, the music sounds too distant to leave a lasting impression or serve as anything more than background noise. Granted, it's not easy to create something that stands out while still sounding, I dunno, aloof and spaced out. But sometimes a band comes along that does a nice job of honing in on that dynamic and creating a record that fits the bill for how good music within this genre should sound. Today, Shuteye Unison is that band and their self-titled debut is pretty enjoyable. The segue from instrumental intro 'Crf030608' into 'Tomorrow's Five Horizons' is seamless. The jagged guitars utilized here remind this reviewer of something off The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me, and the vocal approach employed here is soft and soothing, complementing the aforementioned guitars nicely instead of overpowering them. The activity in the rhythm section increases in the song's last minute, with forceful pounding drums and plenty of cymbal crashes that build tension. The song ends there which is slightly disappointing, but the build-up was strong enough for it to not be a huge detractor. 'Fields Landing' is one of two opuses on the record, a seven and a half minute epic with positively haunting vocal effects, droning keyboards and a gently strummed guitar that set a rather somber tone in the song's first half. About five minutes into the song, distorted guitars kick in accompanied by heavy, crashing drums. The soft vocals sound more distant than ever here, but part of me thinks that was the point. 'Latin Metrics' and 'Slow Ravens' are the next two tracks here, the former a dancy, almost Pinback-esque jam rife with interesting percussion and the latter a simpler, slower ballad that features more distorted guitars toward the end of the song to create an effective quiet/loud dynamic. 'Through Dunes' closes out this record on a high note, and despite it's 9 and a half minute running time never feels too long or too forced. The vocals are once again, rather distant and echoy, creating an ambiance enhanced to near perfection by the restrained guitar tones and sporadic drumming. Over six minutes go by before heavy, low-end Hum-esque guitar and drums kick in and the juxtaposition of that and the strange background noise makes for an entertaining listen. At six songs and 31 minutes, this release is somewhere between an EP and a full-length but regardless it never really runs out of breath before the finish line. Shuteye Unison have created something awfully ambitious and managed to make it distinct and engaging without sounding forced or contrived. - Punknews.org ...intricate, dreamy post-rock, much to the side of Pinback, Silversun Pickups and other such contemporaries. - The Deli Magazine Shuteye Unison sound a little like The Charlatans if they signed to Deep Elm rather than going down the baggy Manchester indie route. Maybe it's me but the vocals sound a tonne like Tim Burgess. It must be me. Maybe I'm going deaf. Or I'm stupid. Anyway, this is a very atmospheric record, almost dream-like in places as the vocals whisper away in the background and the guitars, bass and drums create a hypnotic beat in the foreground. It's good, but not great - I can see why a lot of people would enjoy this but it's not taken as much of a hold on me as I'd hoped. 'Tomorrow's Five Horizons' drifts along and builds and builds and builds but never quite reaches the crescendo you'd hope for. 'Latin Metrics' is very similar as the single parts all sound fantastic and the vocals do the job they are meant to but, in my opinion, it doesn't quite hit the spot and the drift never turns into a bang. I'd just like some kind of outpouring of emotion, it's like the band are content with bottling it all up. Either that or I enjoy louder music a bit too much. Like The Appleseed Cast? I think you may enjoy these guys too. (3/5 Stars) - Punktastic So I got this in the mail and it sat on my desk for a week. It's a busy time for me, and as I write this in fact I'm dragging my way through a work day before leaving for a short holiday vacation tomorrow. Sorry it took me a while to get to this. ANYWAY, Shuteye Unison's S/T album drifted through my headphones the first time and I have to say, I was impressed right off the bat. It's an ambitious attempt that, even though at a certain point it definitely gets a little grandiose, is soft, ambient and intricate, to the point that I could definitely trick myself into thinking it was actually a soundtrack to a rainy morning as I waited for the subway to go to work. It's an interesting record and definitely in the upper-crust of soft experimental-influenced indie music. It's like an extremely melodic Fugazi-esque sound, with intricate guitar and bass lines that don't sound like pissant music school nerd noodling, which is something that I definitely appreciate. In general I'd push this around if you're into almost sadly beautiful and ambient music without too much technicality. The vocals are sparse but it's not instrumental, the songs can be long but not ridiculously so. It's not a top favorite of mine but it definitely made me stop for a second and go "whoa". - Fistfight at the Arthouse Trying to describe what Shuteye Unison are trying to achieve in their self titled EP is a difficult thing to do. Perhaps they are aiming for nothing more than to purely create music, noise and sounds to please themselves and have no concern for anything or anyone outside this aim. The six songs offered on this EP give nothing away, at points they are beautiful and ambitious, and on other occasions they seem to be following their own tails, circling themselves and repeating the process. It is hard to believe that they are looking for a reaction of complete neutrality but this is the feeling that keeps returning to me when I listen to their music. Formed in early 2007, San Francisco's Shuteye Unison is two parts The Rum Diary and one part The Action Design. Needing to fulfill live commitments with The Rum Diary, Daniel McKenzie (Vocals/Guitar) and Jon Fee (Vocals/Bass) recruited Jake Krohn (Drums) to do this before The Rum Diary went on an indefinite hiatus. From the ashes of this band the three musicians began to write and record material and Shuteye Unison was born, an alt-rock, shoe gazing dream of reverb, solid bass lines and rhythmic drum beats. When listening to this band the word 'dreamy' pops up time and time again as the best way to describe the emotions evoked when listening to what is on offer here. The vocals are hushed and whispered as if Daniel and Jon are loving parents to a new born child, trying to sooth it off to sleep after a particularly troublesome night. Almost ghostly and haunting in places they are not trying to make a statement or press a message, but simply blending with the music and becoming another instrument. As beautiful as the music is at times you do get the feeling that it lacks any real direction or conviction. The first two tracks show this, both separate but they are essentially the same song, with Crf030608 acting as the introduction to Tomorrow's Five Horizons. The song slowly builds up to a strong finish and then suddenly just scatters out into nothing, this comes as a disappointment because with so much preparation going on throughout Tomorrow's Five Horizons you feel that it was building up to more, but simply passes on without so much of a whisper, a minor storm in a tea cup before moving on. Much of the EP left me feeling this way, that many of the songs were building with promise but simply failing to deliver much impact on me. This EP does show some really nice ideas from Shuteye Unison and has it's highlights, Slow Ravens and Latin Metrics of particular note due to their strength and hook, but much of it left me feeling deflated and with the feeling that Shuteye Unison have so much to offer but they appear to be holding back. - Power of Pop Released by the cleverly named Parks and Records earlier in the year, this quaint album from SHUTEYE UNISON is, coincidentally, all about the shuteye. That doesn't necessarily mean the six tracks here bore the listener enough to induce sleep, but they are definitely quite relaxed, enough so that even the most hyper person would be inclined to chill for a moment. The band works with a style of shoegazing indie rock that THE APPLESEED CAST perfected on their Two Conversations, except SHUTEYE UNISON write longer songs with less vocals. This combination means that there is plenty of time for the band's instrumentalists to create aurally-pleasing soundscapes that can be light and twinkly ('Latin Metrics') or surprisingly forceful and reminiscent of heavier post-punk bands like PELICAN or RED SPAROWES ('Slow Ravens'). The band is at it's best when injecting a little more melody into their songs, as they do during the opening bits of 'Tomorrow's Five Horizons.' The band's songs are clearly more memorable when they are able to do this. In addition, the vocals become more important to the song, which is much needed on an album that otherwise leaves the vocals low in the mix. The difference between an album like this versus one like Two Conversations is that it was written by a young band which still has a few songwriting kinks to work out in order to create something as memorable and with as much longevity as one a veteran band could write. Fortunately, this brief introduction proves that SHUTEYE UNISON has all the potential in the world to do something like that, so long as they continue to build off of the quiet/loud dynamics that make their music so captivating already. - Pastepunk Anyone who has spent any time trying to be a "working" musician by writing, recording, and selling an album has been told this basic nugget of music biz wisdom by a number of industry insiders: If you want your album to get noticed, you gotta have your best material up front. You gotta immediately grab the record label intern's attention, or the reviewer's attention, or they aren't going to listen past the first 15 seconds. Of course, plenty of bands violate this conventional wisdom every day, and many of them still get plenty of attention. At this point, there's nothing revolutionary about, say, starting your album with a minute and 49 seconds of swelling ambient noise. That point notwithstanding, it still takes a certain amount of dedication to your particular artistic vision to buck the industry's prescriptions and just do your own thing. After all, many, many (dare I say the vast majority?) of musicians are mostly in it for the attention and the fame and money they're hoping will follow that attention, and are therefore only too happy to tailor their sound to whatever helps them "make it" in the music biz. So when I got Shuteye Unison's untitled debut EP in the mail and tossed it in my CD player, you could definitely say I was a little shocked when, somewhere around the 30 second mark, I realized these guys were taking their time, letting the ambient noise get good and swollen, before launching into the first song proper. By the 1:49 mark, I was duly impressed. Not because I was blown away by their novel sound or anything, but because this opening track says to me, "We are artists first and foremost." The question now, of course, is: Did the rest of the album deliver on the art? Yes indeed, Shuteye Unison delivers. Of the six tracks in total, the opener is the only one composed entirely of ambient noise. The rest of the songs defintely have an atmoshperic quality, and there are several interludes that resort to the pure noise. But the songs are more properly described as a sort of indie psychedelic pop rock. After the minute and 49 seconds of ambience that opens the album, "Tomorrow's Five Horizons" seems to charge right out of the gate - though of course I mean that in relative terms. A driving bass lick starts it off, and I love how it just comes bubbling up out of the noise. Then the chiming, reverb-soaked guitars come in, and the somehow simultaneously soaring but whispery vocals take over. It all has a rather sublime feel. Even when it's at it's most hard charging, there's a sense of detachment, an awareness of something larger than the exigencies of this song, like these aren't even songs at all but indie psych pop dispatches from some astral plane. The intro to "Fields Landing" brings the tempo back down to a crawl and imports some samples of a dude talking, too, a nice touch. It lends an experimental feel to this brief interlude before, once again, the reverb-drenched guitars come in, this time with a crunchiness that adds a satisfying heft to the song. As the tempo starts to slow down at the end of the song, the drum beat and the bouncing bass line remain in lockstep and you also realize these guys have serious chops in addition to a finely honed sense of craft. And no surprise, since Shuteye Unison is comprised of veterans of several other Bay Area bands, including The Rum Diary, Built for the Sea, and The Action Design. If I was forced to pick a standout track from this album that is too consistently good to really have a standout, I'd say "Latin Metrics" is it. The bass line is, at times, just so damn melodic it hurts. I love it when a band can bring a bass line to the foreground and lodge it firmly in your head. What makes this album even easier to like is that it's out on Parks and Records, a green record label based right here in the Bay Area. Last year they made donations to the National Parks Conservation Association, the National Forest Foundation, and Friends of the Urban Forest out of their proceeds. Local and green? I know what you're thinking and, no, it doesn't get any better than that. - WireTapMusic.