If you've never seen Sleepytime Gorilla Museum live, do yourself the favor the next time they come to your town, berg or hamlet. They might not necessarily become your new favorite band, but I guarantee you won't regret having gone.
The flip side to being such a great live act is the music can often fail to live up to it's full potential in a studio setting. What might sound fantastic at a show, might sound less-than-enthralling on album. This has been a problem plaguing Sleepytime Gorilla Museum since the beginning of their career. The albums released thus far are strong efforts to be sure, but Sleepytime Gorilla Museum shows have become the stuff of legend. Like sarcasm in a letter, the humor can be hard to detect on the band's first two albums. Of Natural History made a valiant effort to show the band's lighter side and succeeded, at least more so than the band's debut, Grand Opening and Closing.
Let's face it there's a stigma that goes along with the term "avant-garde" that usually denotes a self-indulgence easily dismissed by those looking for a band with higher entertainment value but Sleepytime Gorilla Museum shatter those preconceived notions with every show they perform. They ride the fence between art and entertainment with such skill and panache, that they never come close to sacrificing either one.
In Glorious Times is a great listen from glorious start - the unsettling "The Companions" - to the brilliant Wagnerian dirge-like epilogue of "Putrid Refrain." The album as a whole comes across as having more of a grandiose scope in both concept and execution, making this the closest reenactment of the live Sleepytime Gorilla Museum experience to date. A macabre masterpiece highlighted by the unquestionable talent of all those involved. Nils Frykdahl continues his vocal malevolence with more of an operatic tone well suited to the tone of the album with as always is beautifully enhanced by the mythological siren-like abilities of Carla Kihlstedt.
At once harder and more guitar-oriented than previous works but at other times more ambient (albeit in a M.C. Escher-type way), In Glorious Times will certainly more than satisfy the longtime fans. As far as the rest of you go now is the time. Be not afraid. Embrace the true "alternative," buy the ticket, and enter the Museum.