Sleeping States/Holopaw - Old vs. New/Through ’til the Morning Comes - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Sleeping States/Holopaw - Old vs. New/Through ’til the Morning Comes

by Rich Morris Rating:6 Release Date:2013-07-09

One always feels one shouldn't be a dick about records which raise money for charity. This one, released during LGBT Pride month, raises money for a very noble cause: the Point Foundation, an organization that provides support to LGBTQ students. So I really can't fault it on that score, nor the fact that the two bands who feature, Bristol's Sleeping States and Florida's Holopaw, both have openly gay frontmen in the forms of Markland Starkie and John Orth, something which is still a baffling rarity in indie band-land.

However, while everything around the music gets a two thumbs up from me, the music itself it a bit... Well, it's OK, I guess. Sleeping States contribute five short tracks here, and they wear their influences on their sleeves (I presume, unless they're one of those insufferably annoying indie bands who claim to have arrived at their sound independent of anything that's gone before, while sounding and looking like a Strokes tribute act).

Sleeping States obviously draw a lot of inspiration from The Smiths, The Magnetic Fields and Gene. Nothing wrong with that, but Starkie is definitely overdoing that over-mannered, ever-so-English Martin Rossiter vocal style, while the music's determinedly lo-fi quality does it no favours when there's actually some interesting stuff going on on the likes of 'Liberty Feelup' and the feedback-heavy 'Trumpet Calls'. Basically, I have little time for this breed of indie-classicist band because I suspect their highly unoriginal sound is very easy to achieve. Sleeping States sound like they have some promise under the post-grad bumblefuck, so they should try a bit harder.

Holopaw are something quite different. Their one track here, 'Through 'Til the Morning', weighs in at nine minutes and begins as a lengthy sound-collage and musique conrete piece. It slowly evolves into a work of ambient electronica before abruptly shifting into a tense indie rhythm track, dropping into some echoey balladry and closing with an attack of taut tribal drumming. Now this, Sleeping States, is called musical ambition.

So this split release, only available in the US on pink vinyl, is made up of some underwhelming indie strum-alongs and one very interesting curio. I definitely want to hear some more from Holopaw. Meanwhile, I wish Sleeping States all the best but I'm pretty sure I could throw a penny at my local indie night and hit a member of band which sounds just like them.

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Another one on my list for Record Store Day, going to be an expensive day at this rate.

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