I haven’t been sleeping much lately. I’ve been nervous. The stretched-thin Stanford lifestyle I’ve been avoiding since I arrived on campus is finally catching up with me, and I’ve been up late (or late for me, at least) working, or at least busying myself with things that feel enough like work to make me feel better about myself. So when sometimes Animal Collective member Deakin (née Josh Dibb) released a soothing, warm album called Sleep Cycle last Friday, it seemed like a gift. I’ve been waiting for the long-discussed Deakin solo album since the multi-instrumentalist announced he was working on it way back in 2009, and here it is, at a time I need Dibb’s gentle music more than ever.
The long waiting period for Sleep Cycle suggests that Dibb may not share my propensity for busying himself into the night (he’s spoken of a “fatal perfectionism” and self-doubt that delayed the album), but from the opening track, “Golden Chords,” all was forgiven in my mind. A simple track, relying mostly on Dibb’s voice and acoustic guitar, “Golden Chords” feels cozy, and has become a lullaby of sorts for me, a way to quiet my mind and my worries.
Deakin’s doesn’t usually take lead vocals on Animal Collective songs, with “Wide Eyed” from 2012’s Centipede Hz as his only vocal showcase in the band’s 16-year career. It’s nice to hear Dibb’s voice featured centrally on “Golden Chords.” His voice isn’t as charismatic as those of his bandmates, but it pairs perfectly with the intimacy of the song and the lyrics, which offer reassurance to a discouraged friend or perhaps, given his difficulty in creating the golden chords of this album, to Deakin himself.
Listen here. Image from here.