Ahead of their brand new studio album to release later this year, Canadian Americana-Rockers Sleepy Driver have set free a 9-track download-only Bandcamp album entitled Decomposed. In a move orthogonal to the now popular "acoustic" or "ambient" albums in which bands cover their own songs with different arrangements and instrumentation, Decomposed works entirely with existing instrumental tracks from Sleepy Driver's catalogue to create new soundscapes that exhibit at most a tenuous connection to the original songs.
Sleepy Driver frontman Peter Hicks explains the motivations and results for Decomposed thusly:"If this album has a concept, it is one of texture, and the revelation that underneath the surface of a recorded song lives a whole other piece of music. When you strip away the “composition” – key song elements like the words, the base chords, the vocal melodies – and you let the instruments that support the song come through to the forefront, what remains is no less beautiful, no less unnerving. Sometimes what is left bears no resemblance to the original song. [...] As a standalone album, “Decomposed” is late-night music: a soundtrack for meditation, for relaxation, for contemplation, an exploration of the deeper layers that exist below the composition. We hope you enjoy it."
We at Radio Eclectic have been Sleepy Driver fans for nearly a decade, and it's great to see the band continuing to explore new musical territories while retaining their core identity. If anything, Decomposed is less an experiment and more a magnifying glass on what Sleepy Driver have always done well as a band and not just as a vehicle for Hick's distractingly good lyrics. It's especially great to hear so much more of John Heinstein's keys that have provided such an important and unique texture to the band's Americana sound.