There’s no two ways about it: The Sleepy Jackson are great. In the classic sense of the word.
Unlike many of their fellow young antipodean talents, Luke Steele’s troupe owe little or nothing to Nirvana or the ‘70s garage rock movement. Their spectrum of inspiration is hugely colourful and diverse, encompassing everything from ‘60s and ‘70s west coast pop, lush Phil Spector-style pomp, Scott Walker and sulky ‘80s goth-pop. Considering the amount of influences that are thrown at the wall, it’s amazing just how many stick.
‘Lovers’ doesn’t exactly manage to fulfil the giant-sized promise of their eponymous mini-set, but instead throws a magnificent curveball. It’s the perfect soundtrack to poignant Lynchian moments; all surrealist flourishes and heavenly choirs, fitted ambitiously to Steele’s macabre lyrics (“These roads they sing like bats I know/Their eyes are tightly sewn, like some priests I know” – ‘Vampire Racecourse’).
The Sleepy Jackson deal most well in lush, hook-heavy country pop of the likes of the sublime ‘Good Dancers’, ‘This Day’ and ‘Miniskirt’. Despite what their previous releases may have hinted at, the band also have a talent for less organic songcraft. ‘Rain Falls For Wind’, ‘Don’t You Know’ and ‘Tell The Girls I’m Not Hangin Out’ spiral off into skewed electro-rock, with oddly pleasing results.
It seems inevitable that The Sleepy Jackson will soon make a splash, if perhaps solely in an understated manner. This album is destined to command the hearts of many a troubled youth and young optimist alike. ‘Lovers’ never demands your attention; neither is it terribly insidious. Like all real beauty it simply _is_ - honestly, wholly, perfectly formed and irresistibly seductive.
8Tom Edwards's Score