Monday, 29 July 2019

Sleeper - The It Girl (1996)

Grease ourselves up on the way down....

  

Released on 18 June 1996

Running time 45.49

Sleeper were a strange band. Releasing material at the heart of the "Brit Pop" thing, after initially being the sort of band that would appear on the list of a character from "This Life"'s favourite bands, they pretty soon became the band everyone loved to hate, for no accountable reason. Music fashions, eh? Maybe it was the fact that lead singer Louise Wener was a bit gobby, but so what. She later became an author and wrote some excellent books. I have read two of them - "Goodnight Steve McQueen" and her enjoyable autobiography "It's Different For Girls". Both are lively and amusing.

The other members of the band, all male, were anonymous in both appearance and persona and the phrase "sleeperbloke" was coined by someone in the media to describe such types. It stuck, for a while at least.

The band's sound was very Blondie-influenced with Smiths-style guitar backing although the music is unremastered and suffers a little from a muffled sound that you need to turn up.

TRACK LISTING

1. Lie Detector
2. Sale Of The Century
3. What Do I Do Now?
4. Good Luck Mr Gorsky
5. Feeling Peaky
6. Shrinkwrapped
7. Dress Like Your Mother
8. Statuesque
9. Glue Ears
10. Nice Guy Eddie
11. Stop Your Crying
12. Factor 41
13. Click...Off...Gone                           

"Lie Detector" is a riffy and punky opener, full of witty, observational lyrics. Wener's "mockney" accent is annoying though as she drops her "t"'s unconvincingly. "Sale Of The Century" has a riff like the one in Iggy Pop's "The Passenger" and an absolutely killer chorus. Its synthesiser opening reminds me of Blondie's "Fade Away And Radiate". This material is all very mid-nineties. By this time, I was thirty-seven years old and saw this stuff as the music of students and young people much younger than me, so I was never properly into it. In later years, however, I have picked up the band's three albums for next to nothing and quite enjoyed them. "What Do I Now?" contained more of Wener's acute social observation, which always was razor sharp. However, her deadpan singing left quite a bit to be desired.


"Good Luck Mr. Gorsky" has a good sound to it, actually, with some good percussion and guitar backing. quite what the song is about is unclear. It has a bit of post punk mystery about it. "Feeling Peaky" is in possession of a punky riff and a bit of a Stray Cats rockabilly bass line. "Shrinkwrapped"  has an infectious slow drum sound and a bit of a Siouxsie & The Banshees mid-eighties guitar sound. "Dress Like Your Mother" is another typically nineties piece of Brit Pop rock, although "Statuesque" is the album's most obviously Blondie-influenced number, with it's new wave beat and "I'm Always Touched By Your Presence Dear" vibe.

"Glue Ears" has a mournful, sombre feel to it, with some industrial post punk riffs. "Nice Guy Eddie" is full of those typically punk/new wave double drum beats and some impressive guitar. "Stop Your Crying", ironically, given its its titular familiarity to "Stop Your Sobbing" has more than a bit of The Pretenders about it. "Factor 41" is a melodic but quirky new wave-ish number, but that mockney voice is annoying me again. It ends abruptly with Wener hollering out "get your knickers down...". The fact she is singing it to a man makes it unique and amusing. "Click...Off...Gone" is a short, airy, synth-driven end to an album that is ok for a quick burst every now and again, but I have be honest that despite its forty-five minutes, I start to flag after about twenty-five.

C+

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