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Sigh – In Somniphobia

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There’s no getting around it: In Somniphobia is weird. But it’s the kind of weird you can get cozy with, once the foreignness subsides. There are so many musical sounds, textures and genres represented here — it just wouldn’t be fair to write it all off after a single listen. Sigh are fearless artists.

The opening track, “Purgatorium”, is about as flashy as it gets. The same synths that Children of Bodom abuse to the point of nausea are also employed on this album, but to different effect. Sigh weave gaudy melodies into a dark final product. In the same way that a clown’s aesthetic can be eerie, so are each of Sigh’s merry melodies. These melodies should make us happy, but instead they are sinister.

Sounds of machinery going haywire, maniacal laughter, plenty of non-traditional instruments, Satyr-esque vocals, and those crazy synths. How do combinations like this even work? It’s an absurd concoction that appeals to a curious ear. Just as we start to question a particularly weird passage, Sigh pull us back in with a melody that’s too good to deny. By the third or fourth listen, the quirks are endearing. “Amnesia” is eight minutes of sultry jazz with unhinged vocals — the soundtrack to a blackened burlesque show in a funhouse, perhaps. And yet, the reverbing voices and piano additions make it comforting, in an “I’m not sure what I’m hearing, but I like it and can’t stop listening…” kind of way.

Sigh may be adept at the avant-garde, but it’s the biting riffs on “Fall to the Thrall” that really carry this album. After eight tracks of strangeness, a bona fide riff sounds almost shocking. It makes me wish Sigh would be more liberal with guitar-driven passages. By the end of In Somniphobia, I’m craving the thrash and the crunch. But of course, after a short burst of heavy, the final track begins with some jazzy smooth elevator music. Back to the strangeness. I think I understand this band’s name now.

— Julia Neuman

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Sigh – “Somniphobia”

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Candlelight Records USA (Preorder, release date TBA)

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