Straight outta High Ridge, Missouri, the two-piece experimental punk outfit Sleep State isn't the finger-in-your-face kind of band suggested by the album title. Guitarist Curtis Tinsley and drummer Joseph Hess sing about small-town myopia ("Tractor Cancer"), the impossibility of creativity in a mindless culture ("Collapse in the Sun") and the narrow confines of our identity ("Receipt for Your Integrity"). At least that's what I think the songs are about: The lyrics aren't especially artful nor are the arguments well-reasoned, so the listeners are on their own to connect the dots, which lends an impressionist bent to these songs. Sleep State prefers to throw out a handful of sharp darts at a few easy targets, and luckily a few of them stick.
Of the six tracks on the EP, two of them are minute-long instrumental bookends; one starts the disc off with a bed of seagull-like noise squalls, the other ends it with a brief but forceful guitar interlude. While the band lacks the precision and discipline of math-rockers, the stop-start dynamics and shifting tempos merge with Tinsley's spindly guitar arpeggios and power chords. "Candy Flavored Napalm" begins with light touches of post-rock jazzy drums and slow, meandering guitar lines before building into a jerky, full-blown screed full of indignation and bile. The duo is conscious of setting a mood and a tone with their songs; there's a sense of patience and restraint between passages of bruising chords and bashed cymbals.
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