Mike Tittel, leader of local earnest indie pop heroes New Sincerity Works, has emerged from our communal quarantine with a new solo effort, Sleeping In. Mostly recorded over the preceding winter, Tittel performs nearly all the parts, save for some bass from Cincinnati veteran and fellow NSW bandmate Bob Nyswonger, and backing vocals from NSW and Pretty Birds bandmate and partner Lauren Bray.
While Tittel’s particular brand of heartfelt, well-crafted pop is obvious on NSW records, Sleeping In gives the listener a fresh take that plays like a deeper exploration of some of the themes in his other songwriting. Opening with “3AM,” the album comes on slowly, capturing the feeling of those late nights that become early mornings, and laying an emotional foundation for a very introspective album to come. The opening acoustic guitar riff of the title track so expertly paints the picture of waking up after that late night, deciding to stay in bed, and melting back into sleep.
Sleeping In is not limited to acoustic atmosphere, though, reaching deep into familiar pop territory on tracks like “On a Good Day” and “Brimstone and Bone” - a song that features a line I love: “That guitar you play, those songs give you away” - while “Wrist Watch” and “All the Ways” musically and lyrically hint at the more reflective and introspective emotions on the album.
The entire record feels like you’ve been granted some sort of backstage access into the mind of the artist, with songs written in the predawn hours in the kitchen before the rest of the house would wake. Even the cover photo is the view of one particularly foggy morning looking out the kitchen window. If you are a fan of New Sincerity Works, you will obviously like this record, however with songwriting this strong, anyone who appreciates the craft of composing songs, not to mention beautifully spatial recording, will immediately fall in love with Sleeping In.
On a Good Day
Brimstone and Bone
Own Your Own Dealings
All the Ways
Birds of Murren