EP Review: Sleep Eaters – 'Holy Days EP'

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Devilish music played with intricacy and poeticism. 

Holy Days is the debut EP by London’s finest psychobilly/country-garage rockers Sleep Eaters. Filled with poetic lyrics and intricate musicianship, this is moody rock n’ roll that is not brash or obnoxious. Sleep Eaters may be the perfect current rock n’ roll band.

The EP opens with ‘Don’t Sell Your Soul’. The jangly guitar riffing is like Peter Buck’s of R.E.M. The verse has a very cool 60s rock vibe to it, but its not an embarrassing rehash – it’s fresh. A big guitar solo finishes the song. It’s not flashy in any sense, but it exhibits the perfect amount of emotion needed for the song. The right notes are struck at precisely the right time, in the same sense as Neil Young would do with ‘Old Black’.

Previously unheard track ‘Valley of Dogs’ follows. Musically, Sleep Eaters channel the country garage/psychobilly of The Gun Club, but the vocals take on a more punk rock style. Think Mark E. Smith with more tuneful notes in place of the Manc snarl. More guitar solos here for the guitar players reading – the first is gnarly one played through a fuzz pedal. The band then go into a moody breakdown in the middle that is bluesy post-punk comparable to LICE. This is followed by the second solo, that leads into a frantic and edgy ending that builds with speed and intensity. Lead single ‘Life Sin’ picks up where ‘Valley of Dogs’ left in its country garage/psychobilly style. Holy Days finishes with ‘Bad Love’ – a slow jam with lyrics similar to those of Jeffrey Lee Pierce’s in The Gun Club. It’s a fantastic song to end on in its mean and moody presence that has a long-lasting effect.

There are a lot of references to the devil and religion throughout the Holy Days, which gives it a rich bluesy quality to it. For example, in ‘Valley of Dogs’: “Take me to that river and wash my sins away”. Also worth noting is Glenn Wild’s vocals. His tone and manner range in the vocals from song to song. This is most prominent in ‘Life of Sin’, where he favours a deep-toned melancholy akin to Nick Cave, whilst opts for a tone that sounds like Jonathan Richman in ‘Bad Love’. All in all, Sleep Eaters are a talented band and you need to watch out for them.

Words by Matthew Brocklehurst