Austin's Sleep ? Over first appeared as a trio with a woozy pop 7" on Forest Family last year. Since then, they've slimmed down to one member, Stefanie Franciotti, who returns with an upgraded full-length debut that plays like a shoegaze record for a generation reared on The NeverEnding Story. Franciotti's sound hinges on her dual interest in highly textured pop and errant noise.
“Isn’t it too dreamy?” Where the publicity material for Forever references Julee Cruise — and not inaccurately — one thinks rather of this line, and of Twin Peaks’ mingling of sci-fi and the sylvan supernatural with the horrors of human cruelty. We find ourselves in a realm somewhere between heavens “turning by themselves,” populated by flying saucers, and the lifeworld-bound closed doors and tears that can reference either romance or depravity. Our (spirit) guide manifests in the form of Austin’s Stefanie Franciotti (who encapsulates the mood of the piece in her description of the tortured process of writing lyrics as “a one-way ticket to dark baby land”).
Sleep ? Over is yet another one-person band that’s part of a massive wave of retro-inspired bedroom keyboard groups mining dream pop/shoegaze territory. This time, behind the name is Austin, Texas’ Stefanie Franciotti. What’s more, Sleep ? Over comes with the Pitchfork seal of approval, as their sister site Altered Zones wound up releasing Franciotti’s debut seven-inch electronically last year.
Alongside close local contemporaries Pure X and Neon Indian, Sleep ? Over is redefining Texas slowcore for the chillwave generation. While essentially the solo vehicle of Stefanie Franciotti, her debut full-length sounds like a full-band affair, with woozy synths, minimal drums, and breathy vocals. Forever is a mood album, heavily sedated and perpetually out of focus, like an R.E.M.