Deakin lives up to six-year expectations with debut


Joe Conry, Reporter

Six long years after launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund an album and a trip to Timbuktu for a music festival, Josh Dibb, better known as Deakin, has kept his word.

Sleep Cycle, Deakin’s first solo album after his departure from experimental-pop group Animal Collective, is a psychedelic freak-folk-accented trip into the hazy, ethereal memories of Dibb’s past. With the exception of Tim Dewit who plays drums on “Footy”, Sleep Cycle is a solitary self-reflection into Deakin’s worrying thoughts and emotions surrounding his future.

In the opening track “Golden Chords,” Deakin softly sings of days long since gone and his struggles to try and focus less on material possessions and more on the changing world around him. Accompanied by acoustic guitar and the pitter-patter of rain, Deakin reveals a vulnerable side not seen since early Animal Collective albums like Feels and Sung Tongs. In contrast, tracks like “Seed Song” and “Just Am” showcase the indecisive and ambivalent side of Dibb as well as his mastering of arranging different textures to best fit each track’s theme.

After his confusion and inner fears finally reach a boiling point, Deakin loses his calm and cool demeanor and releases his self-contempt and rage on “Footy.” Massive thundering drums, distorted synths, and Deakin’s irate, nearly-shrieking vocals help to make “Footy” one of the highlights on Sleep Cycle.

The album’s closer, much like its opener, harnesses Dibb’s soft, yet impactful voice as he sings about overcoming his fear of aging and accepting the fact of death. Again, Deakin creates a mesmerizing collage of sounds that, when combined with his ardent lyrics, give Sleep Cycle a heartfelt ending that resonates with the listener long after the album has finished.

Sleep Cycle succeeds in guiding the listener through the inner-thoughts and feelings of Deakin as he strives to overcome his fears to grow as an individual. Sonically, the instrumentation is comfy, but at the same time very stimulating to listen to. The album flows gracefully from track to track and unlike the distant and occasionally monotonous Painting With, Sleep Cycle is a captivating and intimate piece. Overall, Sleep Cycle is one of those rare albums that deserves a full listen on every listen.