‘Wish You Were’ by SleepJumper is a beautifully dragging lull of heavy, depressive sound pulled up to a tempo that gets stuck in your head and signals the glimpse of a happy ending. The band creates a collaborative, large and immersive world with each one of these songs. Every sound places itself in front of you but takes nothing away from the other instruments.
It was no surprise to find out the band has been playing together for years before this EP was created. Every instrument is comfortable in the mix and works off each other to create its total sound. Their singer, Abbey, joined what was at the time an instrumental band less than a year ago. Now with the final piece of the puzzle, the band was ready to record.
‘Wish You Were’ is an EP that showcases a band finding their voice in a comfortable and practiced environment. Abbey’s emotional writing and anthemic vocal delivery collides perfectly with Pat’s metal-influenced drumming and surrounds the fullness that comes with Stephen’s bass and Brendan and Thomas’s guitars.
A song like “In a Cave” can masterfully combine a smooth lead guitar with chords distorted by what sounds like the last gasp of a firework fizzling out while still leaving room for the other instruments. Watching the band’s two guitarists interact on stage is an experience in itself. Seemingly two different types of guitar players, Brendan vigorously mouthes the lyrics to every song and Thomas is studiously focused, looking like he’s hearing math instead of music. Yet the sounds mesh perfectly, everyone is having fun on stage and the music reflects that.
Abbey’s voice is powerful and full, leaning on a late nineties style rasp with the powerful belting of a Paramore or Tonight Alive cadence. The rest of the band supports this style, creating its big sound with a professional recording studio and a well thought out mix. Every drum hit is crisp and clear (special thanks to the EP’s recording engineer Steve Aliperta with Kennedy Studios!) and after seeing SleepJumper live, thankfully does Pat justice (only less intense than in-person!). The guitars work together tremendously in the mix. A passive listener might not even differentiate the two sounds at some points, yet they are starkly different when they need to be.
On the song “Project Parking Lot”, both Brendan and Thomas uplift Abbey’s long held lines while Stephen creates a dreamy, almost lullaby backing bass. Each member of the band gives their all to the totemic sound that ‘Wish You Were’ creates.
I don’t listen to this EP and pretend I am playing in it, as I do with most music I love. Instead, this feels like its a lucky glimpse into a really talented group of musicians and as the listener I feel lucky enough to take it all in. The band is already well on their way to a finished album and, according to Pat, have a massive pile of instrumentals ready to be used at any time. There’s a lot to look forward to in the future for SleepJumper.
You can listen to the EP ‘Wish You Were’ right here and find the band’s Instagram page here. More shows and songs are on the way. SleepJumper has been bubbling in the Boston music scene for years and this is only the start of the amazing work that they will put out.