I always listen to the opening track extremely carefully. It’s the opening track the artist has selected to hit your ears first and foremost. The opening track "Toys” sets the stage rather well for a melancholy CD like this. It was a passionate intro piece that stuck in my head and had me eager for what lied ahead. All in all the whole CD is brilliantly delivered with a richly woven Alternative-Rock Gypsy Jazz-textures with songs that go far deeper than the next independent artist. Music will remind you of Born Ruffians, Islands, DeVotchKa and even Department of Eagles and a bit of Panic at the Disco. To be honest I can’t say enough about Stages of Sleep and their overall sound. One quote from their bio strikes me: The Stages of Sleep is best described as experimental/alternative gypsy rock. Heavily influenced by such bands as Radiohead, Beirut, Emily Wells, Grizzly Bear to name a few, the end result of their eclectic sound could be characterized as Indie-Cinematic-Gypsy-Rock. The band members, however, prefer to say that their music encompasses and defines a “cross-genre” style of music. The main cast of The Stages of Sleep originates from the San Francisco Bay Area, with collaborative efforts from additional artists around the country. Be warned you may not want to listen to this CD on the day you get fired. I happen to love dark and slow moving melancholy music that doesn’t try to hard to win you over – that’s how I would describe Stages of Sleep. They have a sound that favors many Alternative artists in the late 90’s yet with a modern day feel. I’ve never heard an artist so skillfully combine so many genera’s into one unique sound. Weather this is by design or simply by accident it’s amazing. The songs that stuck with me the most were “Behave” and “Dancing on the Leaves.” If there was one word or phrase I would use to describe Stages of Sleep it would be “true to self”. I give Stages of Sleep high marks for being themselves and letting the chips fall where they may. This CD will simply make your day more interesting as some of the lyrical content is hard to understand. No doubt the true meaning of some of this material is buried deep between the lines, but there’s an undeniable passion beneath it all. These people are capable songwriters but it’s obvious to me their primary goal as an artist is to make the world a much more interesting one song at a time. If that’s sounds corny so be it.