Up to this point, Matthew Allen Lambert's most visible contribution to the contemporary musical landscape of Atlanta would be as one-third of the sprawling drone-rockers All the Saints, a darling of Touch & Go's late era roster. But there's much more to Lambert's sonic cacophony than meets the ear. Largely lumped in with the more bombastic end of the psych realms, Lambert's heart actually lies with the hermetic beauty of sullen singer-songwriters and basement tinkerers who moonlight on meticulous song craft for nobody in particular. With Night Cleaner, Lambert (along with contributors Cyrus Shahmir and Chris Kaufmann) finally realizes these micro mental vacations into something tangible: a wholly personal world steeped in sweeping pop and blanketed in cold modulation.
Pulling from the textbooks penned by John Cale, Kevin Ayers, Robert Wyatt with heavy but imperative doses of shoegaze and space rock, Night Cleaner is sublimely hedonistic, coolly captivating, and endlessly addicting. Throughout Sketch for Winter III: Green Sleeves, the project's debut, Lambert strolls through song after song of seductive desolation and buzzing warmth.
Opener "Double Natural" wafts into space in dusty, reverb-ed haze that's spiritually akin to Flying Saucer Attack's rural psychedelia, succinctly setting the stage for "Green Sleeves," an addled waltz that swaggers in and out of its lysergic daze. "No Show" resembles a long-lost 39 Clocks ditty while "Cold Diver" serves as a fitting foil, resembling Daniel Lanois' lilting ambiance and Excepter's grotesque, basement funk than any psych progenitor. "Night Cleaner" coasts along with careless pacing, cycling further and further down the sonic routes with careless abandon and demented focus, leaving only "Steel Wheels" to plow its paced urgency and obliterating charm.