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Sleepy Jackson - Lovers


Review: Jack Foley

DESCRIBED by many as alt-country rockers, Perth's Sleepy Jackson prove themselves to be quite adept at mixing several styles within the genre, evoking memories of several influences while retaining a sound that is unquestionably their own.

Touted by many ever since the release of their single, Vampire Racecourse, the Sleepy Jackson are fronted by Luke Steele and remain an upbeat, quirky trio who possess a seemingly effortless ability to hook listeners with their catchy 'na na na's' and dream-like guitar rifts.

Steele's croaky, laidback vocals are perfectly offset by the gentler sounds of his female backers, while their ability to play around with their music makes them very difficult to pin down.

In between the expertly crafted pop songs, there are moments of psychedelia, or country-ballad, just to keep listeners on their toes.

The result is an intoxicating blend of music which, for the most part, hits home.

The album begins in fine style with the track Good Dancers, which has been likened by many to George Harrison in style, before launching into the current single, Vampire Racecourse, and its thudding drums and Velvet Underground-inspired rifts. It is the type of track which just seems to get better the more you listen to it.

The ability to conjur those sweetly pleasing pop records is apparent on the joyous Tell The Girls I'm Not Hanging Out, while the country influence returns on Come To This - yet another of those records which owes a lot in composition to the George Harrison school of songwriting.

And even though you may find yourself ticking off the influences, and comparing almost relentlessly, you'll be amazed at how much you're enjoying yourself at the same time - confident in the realisation that this is a great record.

Occasionally, things go a little off-kilter (as with the child-like Morning Bird), or become too countrified (as in Miniskirt, which follows on too quickly from Come To This), yet they still possess a listenable quality, and a strange beauty.

And then there are the barnstormers, tracks such as the country-tinged, but achingly beautiful, Acid In My Heart (which evokes memories, in vocal style, to The Crash Test Dummies), or my personal favourite, Don't You Know, which displays a darker, more epic side to Steele's songwriting.

Here, as in Vampire Racecourse, Steele's vocals are brilliantly offset by his female companion's and the track possesses a haunting, surreal quality that is difficult to displace from the memory once it arrives there.

It is moments like these which elevate Lovers from an album of promise, to one that you really have to take notice of.

If you haven't already woken up to the Sleepy Jackson, then the arrival of this cracking debut album should provide the perfect alarm call.

 

Track listing:
1. Good Dancers
2. Vampire Racecourse
3. Rain Falls For Wind
4. This Day
5. Acid In My Heart
6. Fill Me With Apples
7. Tell The Girls I'm Not Hangin' Out
8. Come To This
9. Miniskirt
10. Morning Bird
11. Don't You Know
12. Old Dirt Farmer
13. Mourning Rain

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