Indie-pop duo Sleeping Lion have unleashed their highly anticipated EP Most Improved onto the world. Being described as an EP that effortlessly pairs the worlds of pop and R&B perfectly, coming together for their featured track, “Winedrunk,” in an explosive way.
Utilizing the Latin term “Sic Parvis Magna,” which translates to “thus great things from small things,” as their official motto regarding their latest release, Sleeping Lion is betting big. But, is Most Improved Sleeping Lion at their best? Or are the indie-pop duo just running through the motions? Let’s find out.
“Out Of It” is an emotionally vulnerable track that hits hard, leaving streams of tears across the face. Lyrically, Sleeping Lion hits it out of the park with their openness on a broken relationship and the aftermath of saying goodbye.
Singing, “we were a mess/you made me depressed/but after we ended/I gathered my shit, and I went to a therapist,” felt cathartic like rain falling atop a raging wildfire. “Out Of It” is freeing, relaxing, and though the themes are heavy, the presentation is as light as a feather.
Instrumentally, the track is subtle in execution, but the beauty within this subtlety helps the track shine among the other six tracks featured on Most Improved.
Sleeping Lion continues their heartbreaking approach with “Casper.” A song that easily rivals the best parts of “Out Of It.” Who knew a track inspired by certain aspects of Casper the Friendly Ghost could be this good? These approaches to their storytelling make a track like “Casper” stand out among other songs taking over the indie-pop genre, and a band like Sleeping Lion slowly takes the lead.
“Casper” is beautiful in nature; easily getting lost in the continued playful soundscape on display is a notion listeners will follow as they drift off to the careful vocal melodies that are striking, playful, and filled with bliss.
Tracks like “Casper” are hard to come by as too many in the genre attempt to find the next latest and greatest regardless of the compromise to their art. An aspect that Sleeping Lion ignores that keeps their tracks feeling real and relatable.
“Would it kill you just to chill out?” The leading question Sleeping Lion presents to listeners while jumping straight into “CTFO.” A radio-friendly bop that’s easily loveable while once again showcasing the skill Sleeping Lion has on wielding heavy themes in their favor.
None of the tracks featured on their latest EP feel forced or created to appease a particular listener base, and it’s the real-world realities presented within “CTFO” that had me constantly replaying the EP’s third track.
I can already hear concertgoers shouting, “chill the fuck out,” and it’s a beautiful thing that will only amplify the raw energy presented across the track’s little over three-minute runtime.
Adding newfound gravity to the let-go nature of Most Improved, “Small Things (I Forget)” is a song I hate to like. Bringing their high-energy back to earth, the fourth track off their latest EP was an unexpected heartbreaker that left me lost in my mind, sorting through mental crates that I thought were long forgotten.
Instrumentally, “Small Things (I Forget) is unforgettable. The tones utilized within the track are sensational, beautiful, and overall incredibly peaceful, leading the track to arguably become the best featured on Most Improved.
“I didn’t think closure would mean/feeling nothing.” The beauty of heartbreak is on full display, and listeners are in for a journey that will send them on self-discovery, opening old wounds to better bandage them, with this track being the added acrylic polymer.
“Hurt Nobody” is a fun dance-ready affair. But these same traits have the EP’s fifth track coming in dead last compared to the other six tracks featured on the so far glowing release.
A fun track, if seen as background noise with predictable qualities, “Hurt Nobody” proved to be the track I most wanted to skip through. As a standalone single, I can see the immense potential for a song of its caliber, but as a connected piece, it breaks away from the pack and groundwork that had already been laid down that sadly doesn’t work in its favor.
I can, however, see “Hurt Nobody” becoming an anthem for free-spirited listeners looking for a quick escape, further showcasing the joy of music being as subjective as it is.
Sleeping Lion gets back on track with “Last Good Day/Moments,” continuing the energy presented throughout the EP’s first three songs, further pushing listeners into a soundscape filled with escapism and the weight of reality at play. “Last Good Day/Moments” is a quick-witted tune that’s catchy and sharp.
Showcasing their ability to reach out of their indie-pop confines, “Last Good Day/Moments” sees Sleeping Lion playing around with various outside genres, creating a multi-genre experience that’s memorable, continually relatable, and fun for the senses.
“Last Good Day/Moments” shares the ability with “CTFO” of being a song that should translate well for a live setting, giving concertgoers a reason to sing along, dance, and ultimately lose themselves to the wall of sound created in front of them.
“Winedrunk,” the aforementioned supposed shining star of Most Improved, features Emilia Ali, Ashlynn Malia, Charlie Curtis Beard, Alex Engelberg, and London Mars, to name just a few of the forty-two people who contributed to the songs over one-hundred vocal tracks.
Sleeping Lion took on a massive art project with “Winedrunk,” which paid off entirely in their favor. “Winedrunk” is a fantastic closer, and the way the track brings moments from the EP’s previous songs is beautiful, chilling and ensures Sleeping Lion’s place among the stars.
Bringing the curtain down across Most Improved, “Winedrunk” ends things in a thematic fashion that would have broadway cheering loudly while leaving listeners and myself instantly wanting more.
Sleeping Lion is the real deal, and while I wasn’t a fan of every song featured on their latest EP, it is an EP that will stand the test of time as an all-time great release for the indie-pop genre as this duo challenged what the genre could be, while tackling harsh realities, never once treating listeners with baby gloves.
Most Improved is beautiful, heartbreaking, and an overall must-listen musical experience. This is not Sleeping Lion just going through the motions, and I’m already on my toes for whatever they have planned next.