Easy Tensions


Settling in for what promises to be one of the harder snow storms this winter in Michigan is an odd choice of time and place to get introduced to Sleepyard’s Easy Tensions. The duo’s fluid and shimmering pop music recalls the height of summer, from it’s bouncy optimistic pulse (“Miss Spartacus”) to it’s humid nighttime romance (“Circles”). It all plays out like a less technical, more instrumental Pinback. Oliver and Svein Kersbergen manage to pack a lot of sound into their minimal instrumentation and simple repetitious melodies. There’s an intangible quality to their songwriting that begins from the first note of any given song. The two set about evoking a specific mood and that focus on feeling draws the listener farther away from dissecting the music and toward simply basking in the sound. Under these conditions, it’s almost shocking when Sleepyard pulls out a track with discernible vocals. “Sea of Love” is just over two minutes and coasts by quickly with a call-and-response chorus of “the moonlight” over some enjoyable clap-happy pop before easing into the ether of “Wild Honey Skyline.” It’s just enough to prove that humans are behind these songs and not the season itself. While it’s not as accomplished or as innovative as some of the other albums coming from Scandinavia these days, Easy Tensions makes a fine primer for spring and the good times that are expected from the summer months that follow.


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