He may be hyped as being “what London sounds like” and “one of our favourite musical discoveries” by Klaxons and Grizzly Bear respectively. But given the tight grip that such Sunday-flavoured influences as hissing tapes and knitting hold on the dreary aesthetic of this double A-side, Kaito alum Markland Starkie ploughs a considerably less engaging furrow than that of his superfan contemporaries. Then again, in calling this project Sleeping States, Starkie quickly alludes to the aspirations of his endeavour: a fragile kind of melancholy is the name of the game, and a muted struggle between electric guitar and off-kilter field sampling is the means he chooses to convey it.
In this case, we're talking about a strange alliance with wind-soloing (it’s true) and the sort of bleepery that NASA must surely employ when they’re having a crack at inter-planetary communication (and so it gets weirder) on track A, 'I Wonder'. With these awkward tools, the song sets itself up for a false crescendo, and it remains incredibly plain as a result.
From a trundling sigh to a state bordering on comatose, track AA 'Under A Capricorn Sky' is loosely steered by eerie hiss and minimal guitar plucking while Starkie's whisper lingers, ghost-like, in the background. The results prove to be much the same as before in that the technique piques the interest, yet the outcome is a tune with little spark or vibrancy, truly suffering at the hands of a stubborn, resolutely anti-climactic approach.
True to the name, however, for all of the ambitious, dreamy trimmings on show throughout these two songs, it's a struggle to do much more than doze off while they play.
5Dave Kerr's Score