Sunday, 11 August 2019

Sleeper - Pleased To Meet You (1997)

She's a good girl....

  

Released on 13 October 1997

Running time 52.02

For some reason, in around a year between 1997 and 1998, Sleeper rapidly fell out of favour with both the public and the music media. This would prove to be the last of their three albums and they split in 1998. Their demise would seem to have been a classic "build them up, knock them down" media thing, and, despite producing a good album here, one which showed a definite progression and a willingness to diversify slightly, they incomprehensibly became a band worthy of contempt. I could never quite understand that, and still don't. Maybe it was singer/songwriter Louise Wener's forthright personality, but that should never be held against anyone. Maybe it was the move towards producing more reflective, atmospheric, moody numbers instead of jangly Brit Pop. For whatever reasons, this was Sleeper's swansong and it was badly received. Indie darlings to nobodies in two years. That sort of fickleness has always annoyed me.

TRACK LISTING

1. Please Please Please
2. She's A Good Girl
3. Rollercoaster
4. Miss You
5. Romeo Me
6. Breathe
7. You Got Me
8. Superclean
9. Firecracker
10. Because Of You
11. Nothing Is Changing
12. Motorway Man
13. Traffic Accident                                         

Please Please Please is a mysterious, slow-pace, breathily delivered number with U2 hints in the verses and their backing. She's A Good Girl is typical Sleeper fare, full of wry lyrics and a hooky chorus.

Rollercoaster is another which highlights Wener's acutely observational songwriting and musically, it follows the familiar pattern of smoky, atmospheric verses and big, crashing guitar-driven choruses. It has some impressive bass runs and buzzy guitar in there too. The production, however, as it is on the album as a whole, is a bit muffled.

Miss You is a pleasant enough, but unremarkable slow number, with some nice instrumentation. Romeo Me was a single and got a lot of radio play. It has that indie catchiness so popular at the time. However, it is a song that has always irritated me. The chorus while catchy, comes across as clumsy, particularly when Wener sings "Romeo and Ju-leeee-et". It just doesn't fit and bugs me every time. hear it. The spooky Breathe is backed by some Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles sounds and also has considerable U2 Zooropa/Pop influence. It is not a bad track at all.


You Got Me should have satisfied the Brit Pop fans, as it is one of the songs that most fits the style of the group's first two albums. Even this one finishes with some intense fuzzy guitar, though.

Superclean starts with a delicious piece of bass/drum interplay worthy of Siouxsie & The Banshees. It is a seductive post-punky number with sharp guitar interjections and one of Wener's better vocals. The band should not have been criticised for this more brooding, heavier sound. Again, it is one of the album's best tracks.

Firecracker starts of with a Bowie Lodger-era searing guitar riff and a has a muscular, punchy chorus. Because Of You is another track full of slow burning gravitas. It is very much a track that grows on you. It chorus is subtly addictive as its insistent drum sound.

Nothing Is Changing is even more laid-back, Wener's plaintive voice only backed by an acoustic guitar and ghostly keyboard string sounds. Motorway Man starts like Kraftwerk, until the U2 drums kick in. This is another dark but impressive track. It should have been given more of a chance. The same applies to the chunky Traffic Accident. Funnily enough, it ends abruptly, as did Sleeper's career now. This was a shame, but this certainly was not a bad album.

B-

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