Sleepwalker is the first album of the French group Wolve. The acoustic opener The Tall Trees is a short story told by singer-guitarist Julien Sournac, the writer and main performer of this intriguing concept album. Together with his co-musicians David Dutoit (bass), Sacha Lounnis (drums, percussion, backing vocals) and Alexandre Aguilera (acoustic guitar), Sournac wants to impress his listeners in the same way as Porcupine Tree mainly do.
Sleepwalker contains organic and instinctive music. The central theme of the album deals with a man's journey that leads him to his animal side. Where would Wolve go? Through the trees, down in the ocean, far away amongst the stars or deep into the heart of his prey? Cassiah, the first extended song with a playing time of eleven minutes, contains solid short parts interrupted by slow and dreamy spoken lyrics. Another great song is Ocean, a ten-minute piece that mainly has a heavy groove but also some quiet parts; the final part sounds surprisingly well. After these two heavy songs it's time for a short rest called Countdown.
Colors Collapse is the roughest and most ambitious song on this record. It's a melting pot of hard rock and prog rock mixed with smooth and tender, almost vulnerable passages. It sounds like early Anathema, but without the death grunts. The title track is a real epilogue with Sournac singing about his losses; the debut of Wolve ends slowly and quiet. Sleepwalker isn't an easy album to listen to. You need a clear mind to understand the complexity of both the lyrics and the music.
***+ Cor Smeets (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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