Flunk – For Sleepyheads Only

Flunk - For Sleapyheads Only (2002)

Flunk - For Sleapyheads Only (2002)

I regard For Sleepyheads Only as one of the main gates through which I discovered a whole new world in terms of music. It is not the ultimate listening experience for your ears, and it will probably not be remembered as one of the biggest achievements ever in music, however it does have something that makes it stand out of the crowd: it is simple, it is straight forward, and it is surprisingly easy to understand.

Unlike following Flunk albums, this was less focused on vocals, and featured a prominently experimental nature, and due to this you could say that they were not afraid of moving through different directions to pull this off. This means, unlike many others, they were not obssesed with what others were doing at the time, and not only avoided releasing basically a carbon-copy of the same sound and structure of any other electronic / trip hop album of the day, but instead created their own identity, which would be carried on subsequent albums, and evolve to become what we know today.

Although there is this certain sensation of randomness and experimentation to it, the force behind this album is the same that we can always find on any other Flunk album: the intriguing, warm and uncanny vocals by Anja Oyen Vister.  This might not be the best suited album for those looking for a display of her charm and abilities here, but it will serve well just for the sake of knowing their earliest material.

This album lacks the well known soft pop rock / trip hop attitude that we know very well from this Norwegian band, but don’t let that spoil you the interesting experience that For Sleepyheads Only represents. At the beginning it might not sound familiar but as you advance through it, if you are paying attention you will have the unique chance to experience something interesting about his particular album: instrumental tracks. That’s something you won’t see on any other Flunk album, and although instrumental tracks might seem a little bit out of place here, the pieces end up aligning nicely. Those tracks are not mind-blowing by the way, the novelty here is just listening something uncommon nowadays for this band.

The structure of the album is pretty much laid out this way: lots of electronic influenced rock with some bits and pieces of chillout here and there, a couple of instrumental tunes that are also influenced by the same elements, and just a gentle, minimal taste of trip hop nearing the end. It would not be this album where the trip hop + Anja Oyen Vister vocals would be the focal point of attention, but hey, you can’t blame them for trying to cover different areas right on their first attempt.

The title of the album though, where did that came from? The last track, Distortion, seems to me like a lucid dream induced litany, and that’s not necessarily bad, but maybe it was an attempt to induce some sort of trance to unprepared minds? Probably not, maybe I’m just reading way too much between lines here, trying to make sense on the album’s title. An excellent track though, should be part of your before-going-to-bed soundtrack (if you have such nonsense, something I actually have).

If you happen to know Flunk’s recent discography and neglected to invest time on this album, you are missing on some interesting aspects you might not be aware. I wouldn’t blame people who let this one aside because it differs greatly from other more accessible and easily available Flunk albums, but this definitely deserves to be in every trip hop collection, not just for what it is, but also because it represented the beginning of one of our favorite trip hop bands.

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