Featuring contributions from members of Swords Project, Death Cab for Cutie, the Decemberists, 31Knots, Norfolk & Western and the Thermals, Call It Sleep marks the return of Amy Annelle to the Places lineup. Annelle recorded two solo albums after the Places' The Autopilot Knows You Best garnered the band instant praise and prestige. Opening with the plaintive and soothing "Dead Reckoning," this group of some of the Northwest's most adventuresome musicians quickly draws listeners into the album's relaxed yet serious tone. While the disc is notably darker than its predecessor, the band retains a hopefulness throughout the album's eight tracks. By using an up-right bass and violin, vibraphone, piano, brushed drums, and trumpet, the band employs a decidedly gentle dichotomy. Annelle's sometimes exhausted vocals on "Travel Light" soon give way to a tempered inspiration, rising like a wave before falling back to a restrained sense of despair. The fifth track, "Clean Starts," quickly adds light and hope, showcasing a composed and refined grace. A murky and sedated cover of Bill Holt's 1973 classic "Program Ten," and the dramatic and sleepy "'Til the Death" round out the eight-song collection. Recorded over two years in the band's hometown of Portland, Oregon at Type Foundry Studio, the disc was mixed by Larry Crane at Jackpot Recording. Hush Records released the disc in Spring 2004.
Call It Sleep Review
by Stephen Cramer