Thursday, July 20, 2017

Album Review :: Sleeptalk - Sleeptalk




July 28 2017 (Artery Records)


Words: Richard O’Hagan

Ooh, this is a difficult one. Trying to get a handle on Californian electro-pop five-piece Sleeptalk is like trying to catch an open packet of butter; just when you think you’ve got it, it squirms away again.

The press release describes them as being similar to The 1975 or Angels & Airwaves, but they’re not. They’re far more accomplished than that (and since when was being compared to A&A a good thing, anyway?). This debut full-length is Killers-y. It’s a little bit Bastille-y. It’s even, at times, a bit Big Country-y (yes, we went there). There are times when the sound is so big that it seems like there are way more than five people in this band, yet there are times when it sounds like there is hardly anyone there at all.

The slipperiness doesn’t end there. There are tunes here, such as ‘Indio, California’ and current single ‘Strange Nights’, which Brandon Flowers would give his right nipple…heck, no, both nipples for. And singer Anthony Fitzpatrick has a voice which combines the powerful and the plaintive so well that lines such as ‘I’m dying to feel alive’ and ‘You’re not alone, but I can’t control you’ become almost heart-wrenching.

Which makes it such a shame that the band then go and bugger the whole thing up by including tracks on here which are nothing but meaningless filler. That old curmudgeon Miles Hunt is fond of saying that no album should have more than ten tracks on it and, although this doesn’t explain why the last Wonder Stuff one has eleven, it is a maxim that more bands than Sleeptalk would do well to bear in mind.

Album opener ‘Sleeptalk’ contributes nothing. ‘Pure’ is…well, I’ve got no real idea what is going on on ‘Pure’ because it’s odd and pointless and caused me to throw a large glass of ennui over my notes. At the end of the album ‘What A Shame’ is at least well named and can only possibly have been included to show how good the songs that bracket it, ‘Love’ and ‘Drift Away’ are.

In summary, Sleeptalk possess a great name, some great songs, very fine singers and musicians, but really dull song titles. With a little practise at self-editing, they potentially have a great future ahead as a band - and possibly as Brandon Flowers’ love children.

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