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sleep ∞ over - Forever
Much anticipated debut album on Hippos In Tanks from Sleep ∞ Over that's engrossing throughout, from the curious netsuke cover art on in. Don't be deceived by the infinity symbol in the name: witch-house this ain't, mercifully, though there's no doubting that Austin-based Stefanie Francotti is attuned to the weird and the occult, and she's certainly no stranger to reverb either. She's right at home on Hippos In Tanks, navigating fourth-hand pop tropes and electronic experimentation with aplomb - imagine a sound somewhere between the druggy songwriting of Von Haze and the temporal maurauding techno of Laurel Halo - and the most interesting tracks are the almost-instrumentals where Francotti really lets loose, as on the creepy spiritual 'Behind Closed Doors', all distant plainchant and rainforest ambience, or the wonderful 'Porcelain Hands' and 'Cryingame', which both in their different ways approach the temporal marauding techno of her labelmate Laurel Halo. But a number of the more vocal-led tracks are very special too: look out for 'The Heaven Turns By Themselves', with its serene harmonies, waterfalling strings and stacatto drum machine attack, or 'Casual Diamond', which sounds like Kate Bush heard through a hypna haze, the almost Balearic Nite Jewelisms of 'Stickets' and the swirling gothic epic that brings the album to a close, 'Don't Poison Everything'. Impressive stuff - highly recommended.