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The Sleepy Jackson


Release Date: 07.29.03
Record label: Astralwerks
Genre(s): Movies, Film Scores, Musicals, Etc.


Cloned of Lennon and Hendrix Genes
by: peter naldrett- uk correspondent

There’s just the right mix of craziness and familiarity on Lovers to make it a glorious debut album. The Sleepy Jackson is a relatively unknown four-piece experimental rock band from Perth, Australia, but if this CD is anything to go by their anonymity will be short-lived.

The Sleepy Jackson’s only UK release to date has been a self-titled EP which housed country, rock and avant-garde experimental music. Lovers is an extension of this EP, introducing us to some of the finest and inspirational tunes I have heard in a while. The opener, "Good Dancers," is a throwback track to the heady days of the 70s, a style which would not go unwelcome on The Thrills’ debut album. But the George Harrison-esque guitars of "Good Dancers" is made even more incredible when placed in the diverse context of the rest of the album, which features pop tunes, country rambles, children’s vocals and even a Radiohead mimic.

The single, "Vampire Racecourse," follows "Good Dancers" and steps things up a gear in a delightful pop-rock context, paving way for more mellow gems such as "This Day." And so the melodies continue, until we reach track six, a curious poetic reading "Fill Me With Apples, "with vocals handled in such a dead-pan manner as to parady Radiohead’s OK Computer interlude, "Fitter Happier." But this is done in such a delightful way that its craziness is at ease with the wilder moments of the more “normal” songs on Lovers, creating a unique mix which is a breath of fresh air in a world of play-it-safe debuts.

But hold on, because more is to come. "Morning Bird" is a genuinely touching ballad, made even more tearful and poignant by the vocals of young Gemma Burnside. Yes, at times they are out of tune, but that is the point. The hymm-like lyrical content and way Burnside delivers it makes it the most startling and noticeable track on the whole album.

"Old Dirt Farmer" is another stand-out track, opening with a Bob Dylan feel before exploding into a tasty country-pop extravaganza.

It’s difficult to spot the inspiration behind this Sleepy Jackson effort, the form it takes is so very diverse. There is certainly a wide range of musical interests inside the head of songwriter Luke Steele, whose dynamic stage persona has ensured a rising fan base on the back of tours in Europe and Australia. In front of a crowd, Steele becomes a being cloned of Lennon and Hendrix genes, ensuring that he becomes noticed as an artist with a lot of depth and talent. And for him, this is just the beginning, saying: “It’s going to get bigger, broader, and maybe a little bit more screwed up.”

This was by no means the greatest album released in 2003, either in charisma, depth or musical talent. But you will have to go a long way to find a band that has released a more energetic and inspiring opening to what will hopefully be a long and emphatic catalogue. 26-Apr-2004 9:00 AM