Bloomington, Indiana's Sleeping Bag released their sophomore album in 2012, but to press play on Women of Your Life is to be instantly immersed in sounds of the '90s, namely in the orbit of Pavement and Weezer and Kim Deal. Sleeping Bag are a bit more laid-back and rolling than the aforementioned -- not drowsy but muted by comparison. Singer (and songwriter/drummer) Dave Segedy reinforces the lo-fi, stoner vibe with a stony delivery; the album is melodic and catchy but with more movement in the rhythm section than in the vocals. The lyrics are likewise low-key and approachable, concerning the anxiety of relationships, uncertainty ("I know, I know, I know, I know, now tell me how it goes"), and tuning out of it all ("Nothing to feel, nothing is real"). Elements of the '60s seep through as well, particularly traits of the Surf Invasion. "Soccer Ball," an existential teen anthem about hanging out, screwing up, and getting kicked around, has sweet "ooh woo hoo ooh" backup harmonies, fleeting Dick Dale references, and an early Beatles guitar chord ending. "In the Pocket" channels another '90s operative, Ben Folds Five, particularly vocally, with greater emphasis on phrasing and subtlety on lead and assertive background harmonies. The song also offers doses of Beach Boys-style vocal counterpoint and guitar feedback to keep things both pretty and messy. Speaking of messy, the musicianship is not what one would label especially tight but an improvement over their eponymous debut, and the lyrics aren't exactly polished, for instance in the awkwardly stressed chorus of "Allison Cole" ("Alice Incole"). However, it all feels loose and friendly and fits its scene, so that's not likely to bother many, especially those looking to enjoy a beer on the patio and air drum along to Women of Your Life. In the words of the title track, "You know the words, have fun, don't let your feelings out until they know the tone."
|Label:||Joyful Noise Records|