Taking it Easy With Sleeping Policeman

Taking it Easy With Sleeping Policeman

Adriana SaboSunday,4 January 2015

Anticipation (self-released) is the title of the third official studio album, issued by South Carolina’s Charles Grace and his gang, working under the name of Sleeping Policeman. The music they make is great to listen to, especially if, for example, you are hungover and need some quality tunes to listen to while getting your head back in order. Charles Grace (guitar/vocals), Zach Thomas (guitar), Jack Graham (keyboard/guitar), Peter Straus (drums) and Thomas Smith (bass guitar) play a blend of blues, rock, and folk music, enveloped into something I’ve come to recognize as “indie atmosphere.”

The primary role in Sleeping Policeman’s music is given to the (acoustic) guitar, played by Grace, a classically trained guitarist. He started his musical education when he was 13, and years and years of strict, classical training definitely took their toll. The album introduces something of a philosophical atmosphere — it was made by a man who felt like he needed to stop, look back and summarize everything he did so far. It is a retrospective as well as an introspective album.

Thus, the man behind the band says: “Anticipation is my third full length studio effort as Sleeping Policeman. This installment is the most ambitious and mature collection of songs at this point in my life. I have grown a lot over the past three years as a musician, a songwriter, and a person. There is a great deal of heartbreak, joy, and discovery on this album. Most importantly, I believe that these songs point toward some kind of hope and redemption, as well as a newfound sweetness in my life.”

Thus, our keywords for this occasion are: growth, hearbreak, joy, discovery, redemption and newfound sweetness. All is felt strongly throughout Anticipation, which includes 11 songs. I must say that the word “sweetness” definitely describes this album: it is bright, full of good vibes, a bit sad, yet never cheesy, which is something that is not easily achieved. It begins with an instrumental track, “Anticipation,” perfect for the opening as it is performed only on the acoustic guitar, and brings a distant memory to the music of Tommy Emmanuel (but without all the effects). It introduces us with this version of Charles Grace, whose skills are truly admirable.

The following song, “All Your Fears,” changes the atmosphere set by the acoustic guitar to blues rock and picks up the pace. What follows is a collection of tracks that change the emphasis from blues to rock, to folk, from melancholic to happy, sad or meditative. Each change of mood comes at the precisely right moment, shedding a different light to the same object. Or, kind of like with a kaleidoscope, you see a lot of images forming one shape, constantly changing its position.

As the album progresses, the object you are looking at is getting more and more melancholic, the tempo gets slower and the melodic aspect of each track becomes more emphasized. Each instrument has its own line, pushing forward once in a while, yet the whole structure stands strongly together. It feels like Anticipation was made in one breath, in one wave of inspiration.

In conclusion, Sleeping Policeman’s latest album is perfect for Sunday afternoons. Or snow days, rainy days, cold days – in short, made for relaxing and taking it easy.

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