sleepmakeswaves are one of those bands that manage to convey a feeling or emotion without actually using lyrics.
Made of Breath Only is the post-rock band’s third album, and the follow-up to 2014’s ARIA nominated Love of Cartography. As with that record, the 10 instrumental songs here are like soundtracks to imaginary films. Unlike that record, this is a dark affair. Influenced by the breakdown of relationships and the passing of family members, the four-piece drew on the imagery of the Arctic and Antarctica while crafting the record: places that, like the music here, are beautiful but foreboding.
Their ARIA nomination may have been in the Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal category, but to put the Sydney outfit in that genre doesn’t quite tell the whole story. Sure, they put their distortion pedals to good use and often, but usually after they’ve traversed myriad moods and atmospheres and built to a point where they need, to quote Spinal Tap, to take things to 11.
It’s not a case of dissecting single tracks here – you could talk about the beautiful, icy piano on the title track, or the mind-boggling prog rock of 10-minute epic The Edge of Everything. But ultimately Made of Breath Only is an album to be admired as a whole. It’s progressive and technical, but sleepmakeswaves never lose site of the fact they’re writing actual songs. And that’s what makes Made Of Breath Only such a great record.