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Album Review: Sleeping in the Aviary - <em>Great Vacation!</em>

Sleeping in the Aviary's previous two albums covered a lot of ground, musically, their debut, Oh, This Old Thing?, was fueled by ultra-catchy pop songs bordering Buzzcocks territory while their sophmore release, Expensive Vomit in a Cheap Hotel, toned things down tempo-wise and showed the more lo-fi, folkier side of the band. Where the Minneapolis-based band's third album would take them was anybody's guess. Thankfully, the common denominators that made the first two records so great are present on Great Vacation!: restless, playful jams with impeccable listenability, quirky lyrics that sound simultaneously ironic and sincere, and kick-ass cover art illustrated by principal song writer/guitarist Elliott Kozel. Great Vacation!, as the name may suggest, shows off the warmest and most colorful sides of Sleeping in the Aviary throughout the entire album - even on the tracks with the bleakest subject matter ("Maria's Ghost" and "The Very Next Day I Died"). The album flows flawlessly from raucous guitar pop to piano and accordion driven tunes to acoustic, sing-a-long folk tracks with a few gargling harmonies thrown in along the way. Consistently entertaining and creative, Great Vacation! will make you a slave to the repeat button for weeks. Sleeping in the Aviary's album release party will be taking place at the Kitty Cat Klub in Dinkytown on December 4th.

Recommended if you like: The Thermals, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Apple in Stereo

Focus tracks: "Axes Ground Looth Tooth," "You Don't Have to Drive," "Maria's Ghost"