Vital American Punk from Sleeping Beauty – Music


THE BEAUTIFUL AT SLEEP Not shown: diarrhea, hot pockets, vomit.

Chuchi Elam

IT BEGINNED as a way not to die, ”says Hart Gledhill of Portland’s Sleeping Beauties. “It started out as a way to kill time with diarrhea, hot pockets and not to throw up.

Although poetic in its disgusting flourishes, the nihilism of Gledhill and Sleeping Beauties is out of place. Their new self-titled debut album is a document with teary eyes, gnashing teeth and drug fueled, sleepless nights and wasted days, from pit to dishes to grease pit, from flophouse to gutter. It’s a political cover of the trampled and trampled, the vital punk record that America needs to hear but cannot swallow.

It’s also an inspired, haunted, sentimental calculation dedicated to Gledhill’s father, Blake, who passed away last year.

Gledhill remembers “watching Mets games and hanging out in the hospital. Hold his hand. And feel his hand go cold. [Mets pitcher] Bartolo Colon ‘came up and was doing fine and felt my dad cold and walked away. Kiss my ass. It is done.”

By this time, Sleeping Beauties was becoming more than just another of the countless lost recording projects. It started with Gledhill and Rob Enbom, formerly of Eat Skull, with a clear division of labor: “I write the words, you play the guitar. They were joined by Rod Meyer of Eat Skull (guitar), Neil Everett of Rifle (bass) and Chris Biggs (drums). Like Gledhill, who led the Hunches, a glorious and notorious garage band of the 2000s, Sleeping Beauties gave Enbom and Meyer a fresh start after Eat Skull’s third record fell mainly on one ear. deaf.

The Beauties spent last summer with engineer Justin Higgins at Old Standard Sound, on a budget and a mandate for an LP from LA’s In the Red Records. The result is loose, raw and hammering garage rock that is both economical and confrontational. With top-notch analog gear and matching craftsmanship, Higgins adds weight and attack to the Eat Skull foundation – the peeled and tugging guitars of Enbom and Meyers. There are vampires, stomps, and pop that are gnarled, aggressive, and, at times, nostalgic.

Then there is Gledhill.

With the fresh and festering death of her father, the sessions provided an essential outlet. He channeled what he was taught, “cut down trees, throw baseballs and hit people in the face – all you have to do to be a human being.” Help people get up and when they need it, then push them down. Basically what it’s like to be punk. Driven by the group’s performance, studio loyalty and timing, Gledhill wrote and rewritten with fury, hoping to deliver something worthy. The results are wild, captivating and deeply literary – hobo poetry at its best.

“Meth” is a spirited, fluttering and thrilling race through the addict’s cycle. In “Hands Across America”, Gledhill advocates “blowjobs for the poor” and “the welfare of the perverts”. “Addicted to Drugs” is a worthy hymn for the lost class. All together now: “We will have to face it, we are addicted to drugs! “Merchants of Glue” is tender, a moment of reflection, where Gledhill “washes[es] filth sticks out my toes, “and cashes his check” to pay your rent. “Gledhill talks-sings to a feverish, screaming boil, a tornado of frustrated revenge.

The record is a staggering achievement, but it’s unclear how long the Beauties will last as a group. The pounding Gledhill takes in confrontational live performances – “floor punk” as he calls it – is admittedly unbearable. On the other hand, when he foams the cream from the gutter, he and the gang have no other choice.

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“I’ve been doing the dishes long enough and I’m not Alex Chilton,” says Gledhill. “I’ll never be him. He should never do the dishes and neither should I. Neither of us should. We should both play music.”

“That’s what this group is,” he adds. “It’s fucking survival. The survival of the older one. We’re not gonna die. They were fucking cockroaches, man.”


About Joan J. Hernandez

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