|It’s easy to hear how Head Phased for Dreamless Sleep originated as a set of ambient songs designed to help Is and of The's Drew Bandos beat his insomnia. Songs such as “I Used to Swim in Seas Outside of Me” are still divinely lulling, all soothing layers of beats, electronics, and the occasional guitar topped with vocals as indistinct as someone speaking in a dream. Yet Bandos’ first full-length has a surprising amount of range given how the project started, and his music recalls everyone from Mogwai to Explosions in the Sky, the Orb, Boards of Canada, and former Mush artist Bibio over the course of the album.|
“He Held the Universe in That Mirror”’s electro-pop hardly sounds sleepy at at all, unless its intricate rhythm is tracing rapid eye movement. “This Is a Strange Repose” quotes Shakespeare over languid guitars before it unfolds into full-blown instrumental rock, while the highlights “Are You a Ghost, Bill Murray?” and “Sleepless Dream” are the natural union of shoegaze and post-rock. Sometimes the album’s somnolent origins are more apparent, as on the looping “They Were the Wet Grass That Clung to My Feet” and the delicate “Skydiving from Swingsets,” both of which feel more like (very nice) background music than some of the other tracks here.
Nitpicking aside, Head Phased for Dreamless Sleep displays Bandos' masterful touch with shaping and layering sounds, which is all the more impressive considering he was only 20 at the time of the album’s release. - All Music Guide