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Robbie Lee

Sleep, Memory (I and Ear)


Like Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon or most any album by the Flaming Lips, Robbie Lee's debut, Sleep, Memory, is a record best experienced through a pair of headphones. And we're not talking about those little iPod earbuds, either; the layers of sighing strings and whispering woodwinds that flit from ear to ear and flutter about inside the listener's head deserve a sturdy set of Boses. Lee — who provides all the lyrics, as well as the wide range of acoustic instrumentation — has created a multi-movement concept album that (as its title suggests) evokes sparse, ambient landscapes populated by heavenly bodies, sailing ships, lost horses and virtuous girls straight out of old-world folklore. With a flair for falsetto and a voice falling somewhere between My Morning Jacket's Jim James and a folksier version of Radiohead's Thom Yorke, Lee describes "Rolling past the winter/Rolling past the dawn" on "Anatomy of Melancholia." It's a line that's characteristic of the dreamworld he's painted here: You don't quite know what it all means, but it's a place to which you immediately want to return.