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"I think it would be boring to make the same record over and over again," says Elliott Kozel, singer/guitarist of Sleeping in the Aviary. "I want to surprise people with each album that I make."
For listeners who have been following Sleeping in the Aviary, new album G Great Vacation! will do just that. With each release, the Minneapolis band has changed up their sound, from pop-punk, to indie-folk and now, for their third full-length album, to storytelling over pop-infused land mines.
The lineup of Kozel, Phil Mahlstadt (bass) and Michael Sienkowski (drums) churned out their debut album, Oh, This Old Thing? in 2007. The disc's intense bursts of lo-fi pop-punk drew comparisons to The Thermals, Buzzcocks, Violent Femmes and Nirvana. Then another side of the band's musical personality was captured on SITA's sophomore album from 2008. Expensive Vomit in a Cheap Hotel was a move towards indie-folk heralded by the addition of fourth member, Celeste Heule, on accordion and musical saw. Kozel switched from electric to acoustic guitar for many of the songs, and also found himself screaming just a little less, exposing more of a tender side. This album cued comparisons to artists such as Neutral Milk Hotel, Bright Eyes, Baptist Generals and even Bob Dylan.
For 2010, Great Vacation! once again finds the band in fresh musical territory, and also with a newly-added fifth member; Kyle Sobczak on guitar. Layers of backup vocals (including multiple tracks of gargling, which Kozel describes as "the new reverb") and additional instruments such as harp, trumpet, banjo and mouth harp accompany stories of scuba diving, sinking on a ship, space-like love, an S&M session gone awry (or did it?) and the occurrence of irony the day before one dies. The ten songs on the album were tracked and mixed by the band themselves in their Minneapolis attic.
Though the band moved to Minnesota in 2009, Sleeping in the Aviary's roots are in Madison, Wis. There, local indie label Science of Sound fell in love with their theatric and chaotic live shows, and offered to record them in their studio. This was the start of a relationship which has found the band and label working together for all of SITA's albums thus far, and also for some of their side projects.