Somebody in the Sleepytime Gorilla Museum must have intended In Glorious Times for a vinyl release, as all the songs on what would be Side-B (or maybe disc two, considering the album’s near 70-minute length), begin with the word “The.” If there’s anything more potentially dangerous than the likes of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum working with a theme, I’m not quite sure what it could possibly be.
Opening with the album’s longest song, “The Companions,” a full seventh of the record’s length—you do the math—In Glorious Times is by far a darker and more technical collection of tracks than were either Of Natural History or Grand Opening And Closing (both released by Web Of Mimicry, the latter reissued by The End). For a group of people who spend their time inventing their own instruments, that’s saying something.
There’s more exploration of bizarre sounds and off-time signatures, and when the band settles into a groove, it’s rarely for more than a measure or two. If the whole point is to jar, upset, unease and push someone out of their comfortable space, then you certainly can’t stay in one place for too long. And they don’t. And it works.
Though definitely more geared toward technical ability, that’s not to say SGM have let their songwriting atrophy. If anything, the knack for developing songs within themselves has increased several times over, as “Angle Of Repose” or “The Salt Crown” easily demonstrate. They tend to work best when they give themselves time within a song to explore, but again, you don’t get to be audio DuChamp by working within commonly accepted principles of what a song is or can be.
If you’ve never heard them before, this is the record to jump on the bandwagon for, as it gives a refined picture of the band’s eerie, avant audio crusade against normality. As varied as variance itself, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum go a long way to restoring credibility to the world of art-rock, too long populated by skinny hipsters in thick-rimmed Weezer glasses. All hail.