Boomkat Product Review:
Sleepingdog is the recording alias of Belgian songwriter and vocalist Chantal Acda, who teams up with Adam Wiltzie of Stars Of The Lid and Dead Texan fame for a wonderfully understated album, filled with emotive slowcore and quietly epic orchestrations. As you'd probably hope, Wiltzie seems to have carried over from Stars Of The Lid his ability to make rich string arrangements and electronic ambience seem unassuming and miniaturised, cradling Acda's songs wonderfully throughout the album. By anyone's measure this is an unusual singer-songwriter exercise, taking focus away from the usual guitar and vocals setup, instead situating synthesizers, mellotron and vibraphonette at the heart of the record. Opening piece 'Prophets' sets out Sleeping Dog's stall nicely, condensing a seemingly expansive instrumental arsenal into a home-recorded setting without anything sounding awry. You'll find other pieces - such as the title track - confining themselves to rather brittle electronic palettes, but at its most rewarding the album will suddenly open up, as on the sublime closing song 'If Only', which embraces more three-dimensional dynamics with piano keys ringing out more assuredly than on previous, occasionally rather timid tracks; they combine rousingly with drawn-out string tones and breathily uttered vocals. Highly recommended.