Sleepy Sun on Subba Cultcha (Posted By Harry)

Sleepy Sun 'Spine Hits' (ATP)

Sleepy Sun 'Spine Hits' (ATP)Sleepy Sun on Subba-Cultcha.

Sleepy Sun ‘Spine Hits’
(ATP Recordings)

8/10 Review
Written By Steve Fanning

“Sleepy Sun’s first two albums, Fever and Embrace, delivered high octane bluesy rock that Hendrix or Led Zeppelin would have been proud to be the ancestors of. Sprawling guitar solos, high impact crescendos and thoughtful lyrics combined with a knack for songwriting and generating atmosphere established Sleepy Sun as quite possibly one of the most criminally under-acclaimed artists on the planet. Returning with a collection of eleven beautifully crafted songs, Sleepy Sun’s third album Spine Hits is less intense than the previous two, more contemplative, perhaps understated, but certainly bang on the money.

There was an intricacy to the earlier Sleepy Sun records that the band have stepped a little bit away from here. The focus is more on the song than the component parts of it, the tendency to perhaps over-elaborate in the studio is replaced by simple songwriting, keeping the music at the fore. ‘Boat Trip’ is gentle, bordering on the psychedelic, a meandering bass underpinning clean chords and prominent vocals and harmonies which works in nice contrast to the more chord driven distortion of the opening ‘Stivey Pond’. Elsewhere’ ‘V.O.G’ is jaunty, bluesy, rooted in the late sixties, whereas the six minute ‘Martyr’s Mantra’ is more like the Sleepy Sun of old. ‘Deep War’ is initially a brooding, darker note to the record, before finding its more traditional path.

Sleepy Sun ooze talent with every new record. Spine Hits perhaps lacks the fresh inventiveness of their earlier work but the deeper understanding of songcraft is evident throughout. Gone are most of the epics and in their place lies an exploration of shorter, poppier songs that retain the band’s sound and style, yet in a more succinct, subtle way. Another fine effort, sure to garner some new fans and turn on a new audience to a band we really should have heard a hell of a lot more about by now. Top stuff.”

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