Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Matt Oliver, Mastered by Sam Patlove
We're not really sure what kind of an effect sleeping with a bunch of birds would do to a person, but choosing to bed down where the feathers are isn't that bad of an idea. We're support such a notion if we were tired enough. The aviary is not even close to the only place where the airy and pop-smart Minneapolis band Sleeping In The Aviary takes us on its latest record, "Great Vacation!" We are thrust into what seems like a combination dream world of Jacques Cousteau, Neil Armstrong and the Grizzly Man, where there's an unswerving attraction to following the heart wherever the heart wants to set course for. The settings for Sleeping In The Aviary songs are amongst the stars, down with the fishes and out there with the wild turkeys - all of these places being where new desires can be fulfilled. The lyrics are almost wholly clever and spacey, verbose and whimsical. They don't traffic in worn our territory, but construct these distorted love stories around very idiosyncratic circumstances. There's the one love story that takes place in outer space, up there where we're missing (or not missing the gravity). The lovebirds that we find there are trying to figure out ways to get into one another's suit and it sounds like the romantic fevers of two high school or college aged people unable to control their amorous feelings for each other as they're stuck studying for an academic test.
Lead singer Elliott Kozel sings, "Who cares about studying the stars when we can be kissing on Mars?" and we're pretty sure that's when the lips get sweetly locked. There is the love story based in the sea, possibly with a mermaid playing one of the leads, in another song that reminds us of early Of Montreal output - wonderfully inventive in finding interesting ways to examine the heartstrings and those who can help but pluck them without rest. These are love-weary songs, sung by a man who can't think about much else than where his love-soaked sensations are taking him. "Y.M.C.A. (No Not That One)," is the aforementioned underwater encounter. There's a stingray attack and we believe that's when we hear the mermaid come to the rescue. Between talk of flippers and oxygen masks, Kozel sings, "Teach me CPR/Try out my saggy heart…I swam ahead like a mating seahorse…/The ocean licked my toes/They took off all my clothes/Her head eclipsed the sun/Pursed her lips, lowered her mouth and slowly sucked the venom out." There's an unabashed quality of exploding hearts and uncontrollable urges that runs through each Sleeping In The Aviary song. The feeling of seeing and thinking about love is almost enough because if the main characters involved actually caught it - somewhere outside the realm of these fantasy worlds - we're not certain that they'd know what to do with it. It could be a really tricky situation. These are the early experiences with understanding the debilitating nature of this beastly sensation that takes a good many men and women to their graves.