Carmen Villain = Liz Phair + Anika + Slowdive
Carmen Villain/Hillestad has a history as a model. It’s in every review and bio. I don’t care all that much. However, listening to Sleeper again while writing this review, I am noticing that I am not all that distracted — and at times, her music is of the kind that could easily play in the background during a photo shoot or similar activity. There are some interesting performance decisions: fuzz guitars and stereo channel fluctuation on tracks such as “Kingwoman,” or a line cribbed from Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” in “Dreamo.” Melodically, the latter aforementioned song, as well as “It May Well Die,” are highlights of the album. There are several strong melodies. The record’s title is appropriate, given a rather hazy and somewhat nonchalant vocal performance throughout. I wouldn’t recommend against checking out Sleeper, nor would I recommend it wholeheartedly. Production-wise, it is solid. Musically, it’s so-so. —T.H.