Musée Mécanique – From Shores Of Sleep

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In 2008 Musée Mécanique released a lovely, theremin-flecked album, Hold This Ghost. In the period since, they could have sailed around the world three or four times. And maybe they did, because six years later their follow-up album, From Shores Of Sleep, has some resolutely nautical themes. The guys leave behind their ancient arcade games and raise anchor for who knows where. But it’s not all plain sailing. They find themselves in deep water. It’s beautiful beneath the waves, yet it’s dangerous too. And at the risk of a major spoiler alert, some of their little lives are rounded with a sleep. Whether as dream allegory or just plain narrative, From Shores Of Sleep takes the listener on a journey from the euphoria of exploration to a nostalgic reflection on times passed. Musically, it’s gentle and just as theremin-flecked as its predecessor. For Musée Mécanique are fishing in the same pool as San Fermin, Mutual Benefit, and, of course, Illinoise-era Sufjan Stevens. There’s even some Sufjanesque punctuation on the album’s triumphant opener, ‘O, Astoria!’. Like their counterparts, the sound is thoughtful, careful, deliberate, orchestral. While Shores Of Sleep perhaps lacks a killer tune, it’s easy to get lost in. The range of instrumentation is a wonder. Everywhere there are sounds. And there are some wonderful vignettes. The instrumental section on ‘Castle Walls’ is almost trippy. The underwater vocals on ‘The World Of Silence recall ‘Will To Love’ on American Stars and Bars. And the crescendo on ‘Along The Shore’ is well worth the wait. Musée Mécanique are such stuff as dreams are made on and From Shores Of Sleep is one of the year’s great releases.