“Sleepy Buildings: A Semi Acoustic Evening” by The Gathering

Artist: The Gathering
Title: “Sleepy Buildings: A Semi Acoustic Evening”
Label: Century Media Records
Release Date: 3/9/2004
Genre: Atmospheric Rock
Rating: 8/10

The release of “Sleepy Buildings: A Semi Acoustic Evening” by The Gathering is a great piece of music and a perfect introduction to the haunting and beautiful melodies that the band lays down. This was my first exposure to the band in full having only heard samples of the signature release “Mandylion” during random band searches some time ago. I was glad to be able to sit down to fully absorb this album the way it merits and normally a live recording is not really the best means to give oneself an education in a band. Recorded live over a two night span at The Lux Theatre this Dutch sensation brings you into a richly atmospheric and passionate listen that will leave you wanting more when it completes. If you compare her talent to other female singers who perform in the style that she has I can safely say that Anneke Van Giersbergen has one of the most beautiful voices in music. The overall quality of the music and the textures that Hans and Rene Rutten, Frank Boeijen and Hugo Prinsen Geerligs deliver on the album makes you wonder how this band had not captured a larger fan base outside of Europe and the Scandinavian countries. While there are sections on the recording that might seem to lean toward the melancholy this is not standard R&R or Gothic Rock but instead a blend of Atmospheric Rock and an almost Acid Jazz type of sound that can stand on its own very strongly next to female fronted acts on the Alanis Morrissette level. As a matter of fact I found the messages and music on this album to be deeper in thought than anything given to us by Alanis over the last few years. I even detected a little bit of Portishead in the music. The album splits the music into two forms of delivery with some being acoustic based and the rest a little more electronically assisted. The listener will be amazed at how hypnotized the audience at the concert is with this music as you don’t hear a whisper from them during the performance until the song completes. This is a very well-produced recording and it includes a lot of the older material that was never performed by this lineup and they also present a brand new track entitled “Sleepy Buildings” which was prepared for this release exclusively.

Even thought I was a new fan the tracks that stood out the most for me were “Red Is A Slow Colour”, “Travel”, “Saturnine” and “Eleanor”. Each of them serving as a great example of what the group does and prove catchy enough to find yourself humming after only a couple of short listens. The album is recommended very highly and I find that this is not a background type of album to listen to. You need to dim the lights and open a bottle of wine with friends who appreciate finely crafted songs. Progressive music fans and those that enjoy certain aspects of Pink Floyd will find this a very in-touch with their musical vibe and “Sleepy Buildings” might very well become one of The Gatherings career defining albums.

Track Listing:
1. Locked Away
2. Saturnine
3. Amity
4. The Mirror Waters
5. Red Is A Slow Colour
6. Sleepy Buildings
7. Travel
8. Shrink
9. In Motion Part II
10. Stonegarden
11. My Electricity
12. Eleanor
13. Marooned
14. Like Fountains

Official Website: www.gathering.nl

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