CD REVIEW: "Matador"

CD: Matador
ARTIST: Arms and Sleepers

On their new 10-song CD Matador, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based ambient duo Arms and Sleepers (Max Lewis & Mirza Ramic) return with more of their trippy, sleepy, piano-based atmospheric airport lobby music, this time bringing more friends on as guest musicians, with way more vocals than we've heard on three of their previous seven releases, each of which we've loved and treasured.

After opening with "Orly" and then hearing the title track and "The Architekt" that's the first thing that will jump out at longtime listeners of A&S: the increased vocals. At first we were cautious of more singing on the A&S tunes; sometimes -- and especially in the case of A&S' cinematic, mainly instrumental output -- words can get in the way, maybe getting in the way of the trip these guys want to take you on.

But no, Lewis and Ramic bring in the guest vocals smoothly, and with rich results, on the aformentioned tracks and "Twentynine Palms," "Helvetica" and "Simone," which is why we'd have to say this is the duo's best work to date: moving their music forward, not afraid to share the creative process with others and not sticking with any particular formula.

Compared favorably to a few acts we've dug in the past, Portishead, Air and Radiohead, we'd have to say A&S comes down closer to an Air-Radiohead type hybrid on Matador, but spitting it out in their own unique fashion.

"Kino," "Words are for Sleeping," and "The Paramour" round out Matador, and like all of our favorite releases (theirs especially) we're always asking ourselves "Is that all?" when the 41 minutes worth of Matador is done; left wanting to hear more.

What does Arms and Sleepers have to do with WVRockscene? We got to see 'em at the Glass a few years back, chatted up Lewis and Ramic, affable chaps each, and have been in love with their music ever since.

Maybe they'll come back through someday, maybe not, but you should definitely click on the link and check these guys out.

-- thanks to: Emile @ nice promo

related: Our feature on Arms and Sleepers

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