Album Review: Vancouver Sleep Clinic, “Onward to Zion”

In the fall of 2018, Australian artist Tim Bettinson and some friends took part in a trip to the Indonesian island Bail.  During the voyage, the singer-songwriter viewed the time away as a means of isolation; the years of being in the depths of being locked down in a major label deal left Bettinson fatigued.  What he didn’t expect was the discovery of a nylon guitar he purchased at one of the island’s only music stores.  The instrument quickly became an integral part of Vancouver Sleep Clinic’s stunning new album Onward to Zion.

One of the biggest takeaways from Onward to Zion is the vast departure of the electronically driven approach to each of the songs.  Tracks such as “Summer ‘09” and “Fever” are emotionally guitar-driven and possibly two of the strongest listens on the album.  “Bad Dream” incorporates R&B influences to the atmospheric instrumentals. 

Listening to Onward to Zion, you can get the sense of Bettinson feeling unrestricted; now being an independent musician has in a lot of ways freed him to explore sonically.  It’s going to be interesting to see where Vancouver Sleep Clinic goes going forward.  Something tells this writer that the future is going to be promising.   

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