In a world where mostly everything can be explained by science, dreaming is a field that is still to be explored thoroughly. With no doubt, it is one of the most fascinating topics for many people, especially for those who tend to remember their dreams well. We’re going on mental journeys every night and come to terms with our feelings – dreams can feel extremely real and completely surreal at the same time.
Julien Sournac, the visionary behind the French progressive rock act Wolve, made use of this concept and created the album Sleepwalker, which depicts the journey of a dream by a beautifully balanced mix of organic music and synthetic sounds. Styles are ranging from 90s alt-rock, prog rock and post-metal to ambient and jazz. Sleepwalker has been written with a certain vision and great skill and performed with emotion. And it doesn’t stop there – all material has been written and performed by the talented Julien Sournac himself. I’m especially sold on his vocal performance. From low to high, smooth to aggressive, he’s able to express his emotions so that every listener will not only hear, but actually feel what he’s singing.
“The Tall Trees” is an acoustic opener that seems very simple due to “only” two instruments being featured on this track, but it does have a huge impact on the listener. From the very beginning, the listener gets introduced to Sournac’s expressive vocals and beautifully written lyrics accompanied by a plucked guitar melody. After scarce two minutes, the first epic “Cassiah” kicks off with an impressive riff, gets calmer afterwards and builds up to a full spectrum of different sounds and melodies created by both electric and acoustic guitars, ambient sounds and vocal harmonies – an outstanding blend of edgy elements, great dynamics and harmonic melodies. “Ocean” uses quite the same instruments with the addition of a piano and a tambourine; all-in-all, this track is about representing the vividness of an ocean and more on the prog rock side. “Countdown” is a short prelude to the last epic “Colors Collapse” where punchy metal and atmospheric and jazzy melodies collide. The album is rounded off by the eponymous “Sleepwalker”, one of the catchiest songs on the record (I often find myself humming the chorus), which has, like “The Tall Trees”, a more singer-songwriter approach.
As a whole, Sleepwalker is a remarkable piece of music that contains everything from fine arrangements, great melodies, a truly dreamy ambience and grand emotions and an album that is set to not only please, but enchant those ones who allow themselves to completely dive into it.
If dreaming always was as splendid as Wolve’s music, I wish dreams would never come to an end. Luckily, I have found a substitute, and if the last line of “Sleepwalker” is to be believed, Wolve won’t stop here, but is on “a trip that never ends”.
1. The Tall Trees (01:50)
2. Cassiah (11:37)
3. Ocean (10:18)
4. Countdown (01:19)
5. Colors Colapse (07:57)
6. Sleepwalker (03:33)
Playing time: 36:35
Release date: 29 January, 2014