» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Sleep Station
Hang In There Charlie
Eyeball Records

Rating: 8.5/10 ?

February 14, 2000
"You might burn quickly, but hey you never know. I have often felt the silence that your heart must never know. Through this gift of misery our science grows. You must tell them how we've done it all, you must let them know. I said I'm sorry for the things that I have done, hang in there Charlie, your path is clear now and I will die alone." So goes the title track from Hang In There Charlie, the latest offering from Sleep Station, the recording moniker of David Debiak as backed up by a cast of supporting musicians.

While it may swirl about a vortex of a lone voice and acoustic guitar, Hang In There Charlie isn't styled on an alt-country blueprint or a plaintive, bare, love letter sob-a-thon. Instead this 14-track concept album is a condensed core (whittled down from a reported 40+ original songs) combining the classic influences of Bowie, U2 and REM with a HUM-esque fixation on space, loss and loneliness, all of which is wrapped up in a modern art-pop bohemia that smacks of down home, mesh hat indie rock goodness.

Debiak drives this album all over the highway of pop music, careening from guard rail to guard rail in a burst of sparks, abrupt transitions and those brief, gasping moments in which lifetimes flash before frozen eyes. Untwisting across an aural topography as diverse as any, Hang In There Charlie is a modern rock tale of deceit that owes heavily to the concepts at play behind 2001: A Space Odyssey. The narrative is anchored by Debiak's rich, commanding and disarming voice. The pace varies greatly from song to song with organ and synthesizers rotating in and out alongside trumpets, accordions, samples and an array of percussion and orchestral elements. As the tempo oscillates it is Debiak's vocals that command the spotlight, always strong and high in the mix, where they belong.

Hang In There Charlie could be recommended in tangential reference to a lot of great music from the past twenty years. There is a sloppy sort of Superchunk likeability to a lot of the more amplified tracks but that is complimented by a sort of scholarly astuteness reminiscent of the Flaming Lips. There are beautiful Grandaddy-isms flittering beneath the surface of "Home" and there is a total Ken Andrews-style intensity going on in any number of songs. On his website (www.sleep-station.com) Debiak asks if we are "suitable for long duration isolation and confinement" - I would have to say that a deep, interstellar sleep would be bearable if soundtracked by this album.

Reviewed by Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other reviews by Eric J Herboth



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