Four of my favorite bands – The Beatles, The Unicorns, The Pixies, and Weezer – have morphed into one. There’s even a little Of Montreal in the mix which can only make things better anyway. Who on earth could pull such a musical feat and make it actually sound good? Four kids from Jersey, that’s who: the once synth-pop kings of South Jersey, Goodnight or Sleep. Goodnight or Sleep hail from Mays Landing, NJ and due to being college students, the line up changes from time to time. The ring leader, would be front man, and lead vocalist, Zane Kanevsky. Kanevsky writes the lyrics and the majority of the music. He’s 18 and apparently, has something 99.9 percent of 18-year-olds don’t when it comes to music- TALENT! Also in the current line up is Nate Barnett (drums), Matt Dermond (keyboard, vocals) and Jordan Hollenbeck (keyboard, bass).
These guys were once known for poppy, synthesized, electronic songs that seemed to be made for dancing. According to their high school classmates, their first album Via Satellite from a Boy in a Hospital Bed made them the end all and be all of high school bands. Though still young in age, Goodnight or Sleep has laid that part of their musical career to rest in order to evolve into a much more sophisticated and musically diverse group. Their latest album, which is self-titled, expresses their growth quite obviously and has truly floored me.
The intro track, “Atop the Matterhorn,” is one of those songs that starts sweet as pie and progresses into something a little heavier, beat by beat. The musical build up to this songs climax is executed perfectly, just another shred of evidence as to why I find this album to be so flawless. As with most of their songs, there is a 60s vintage flare to it in combination with more contemporary, borderline ambient effects. This song, along with other tracks such as “Miss Universe” and “Plebian Table,” are somewhat quiet and reserved, but not one ounce less catchy than the rest. It is hard to put “Miss Universe” in that category, though because it is re-haved under another title, “Telecide,” which is fast, fun and pretty much “Miss Universe” on speed.
I think one of my favorite songs on this album actually falls into the “quieter” category. “Goodnight or Sleep Goes Bankrupt,” to me, is the most lyrically profound song on the album and I absolutely adore its DIY production style.
On to something upbeat! “It’s so hard to get Good Sleep on Top of Pyramid,” and “Telecide” grab the listener by the throat but, in a good way. “Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here” is an interesting track because it is fast and loud and.punk? This track doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere in this Goodnight or Sleep puzzle but, who really likes conformity anyway? It’s loud, raw and fast- I have no problem with that.
My utmost favorite track on this album is “The Shakes.” It’s not only hip and dancey but the harmony parts are to die for! There are parts in this song that actually remind me of the Blood Brothers- I told you they were diverse!
Not only is Goodnight or Sleep good on paper, so to speak, but they put on an entertaining live show, as well. Complete with audience interaction and costumes, what’s not to love?
For more info on Goodnight or Sleep, you can check out their Web site at www.myspace.com/goodnightorsleep. Even if these boys don’t want to get famous, it might happen regardless. It’s been a long time since and will continue to be a long time until a local band really deserves such high merit. Be on top of the scene with Goodnight or Sleep.