The Sleeplings - 'Elusive Lights of the Long-forgotten'
If you didn't know, it is our birthday today, and it's great to see that the annual tradition where ALL our readers send us beer on our birthday is continuing. We'll keep drinking the beer and writing increasingly unfathomable reviews of the finest Nordic music that we can find, and today it is the turn of a particularly interesting Danish band called 'The Sleeplings', who's brilliantly titled album 'Elusive Lights of the Long-forgotten', was released sometime back.
Now this albums arrival somewhat surprised me, but it couldn't have come at better timing. Suffering as I was from some sort of withdrawal symptoms following a rather long Major Parkinson album review, this curious album has appealed to me in a number of ways. Firstly it undoubtedly has 'progressive rock' influences at it's core, but it is an album packed full of quirky interesting melodies and rhythms, and the whole thing is entertaining from start to finish. I accept that such 'progressive' music leanings may not be to everyone's liking, but in all honesty I fail to see why, because there's nothing not to be liked about big guitars, melodies and tunes that head off in the opposite direction than you're expecting.
'Elusive Lights of the Long-forgotten' opens with the particularly impressive 'Dead Horse', with a Celeste beating out a tune, a thumping bass and then a big rhythmic section that carries the track forward - but it's the vocal melody that's layered on top that makes the track so appealing, 'Apothecary' has an unusual musical theme to start, but again it's that big melody which works so well, and the understated vocals just give extra emphasis to the guitars which drive the track forward. In 'Faye Valley Skeleton' we see the addition of strings, and it's written in the style of a sedentary waltz (it briefly reminds me of Koria Kitten Riots 'A Last Waltz'), before we're offered the blistering 'Mary the Quiet', almost 5 minutes of mostly instrumental post rock style noise, with some impressive musical crescendos, different shades of darkness and light and a brilliant climax 3 minutes into the track.
The album continues with a bell tolling and 'Fog Walkers', which I admit does sound the most progressive sounding track, and there are some lovely touches from the meandering piano, whilst 'Broken Light Spectre' opens with a grumbling dirty guitar contradicted by the cleaner piano, and momentarily 1 minutes 28 into the track the melody transports me towards a 'Cardiacs' style world, and that clearly makes me very happy. I particularly like the chord progressions in 'James', whilst the album concludes with the 'Long-forgotten', almost 6 minutes long, opening softly with acoustic guitar and vocals, before the musical theme is slowly developed and built on with guitars with the most gradual of crescendos until it reaches a huge climax. It's impressive stuff, and when (or maybe if...) we're rich through all our website advertising and can afford to throw limitless cash at our Nordic Music festival in Manchester, The Sleeplings can come and open with this track.
At the heart of 'Elusive Lights of the Long-forgotten' are melodies, and 'The Sleeplings' have the ability to write streams of good pop tunes, and I suspect have a lot of fun doing so too. I realise still that this style of music is really not for everyone, there are albums with bigger production values, with more authoritative vocals and that fit more cleanly into 'trendier' Indie Rock genres. But this is my type of music, full of interesting rhythms, guitars and melodies, and there aren't many albums I've personally enjoyed quite so much in the last few months. This is an absolute hidden gem of an album, and it's a real privilege for us to be able to write about it as we drink your beer and head into Year 4.
Nordic Music Review 9/10
AND YOU CAN ORDER THE VINYL HERE! https://thesleeplings.bandcamp.com/merch