Sleepy Sun - Spine Hits

By and large they end up falling on the sword of ‘Fever”s brilliance.

Label: ATP Recordings

Rating: 7

From more disorderly beginnings on their first long-player ‘Embrace’, Sleepy Sun delivered a cult classic with the follow up ‘Fever’; conjuring elemental forces on windswept soundscapes they created something both original and reverential that added up to a truly unique listening experience. Though ‘Spine Hits’ never reaches the dizzy heights of ‘Fever”s ‘Desert God’ there’s nevertheless a lot to like about the new album – in particular, the closer ‘Lioness (Requiem)’, which is as good a track as they’ve ever penned.

‘She Rex’ on the other hand is a welcome change of pace from their earlier material, lilting along with the assurance of Dinosaur Jr., and ‘V.O.G.’, with its echoes of latest-album Black Keys will no doubt win them some new fans, but the psychedelic rush of ‘Martyr’s Mantra’ is more deeply satisfying. For the most part, the new record boasts a sleeker rhythm section and arrangements that err towards being tight and calculated where hitherto they were loose and sparse, and consequently it’s the tracks that epitomise this new mantra that shine.

By and large though they still end up falling on the sword of ‘Fever”s brilliance – and while it’s certainly a fallacy of sorts to judge a band too harshly against their other material, many fans will probably draw the same conclusion. That said, between old fans keeping the faith and new ones joining Sleepy Sun as a result of individual strong tracks on ‘Spine Hits’ they’ll probably end up all the stronger, and deservedly so.