On 22nd March Sleeper will release their first album in 21 years. Sleeper enjoyed huge critical and commercial success in the mid 90s: achieving 8 Top 40 singles across 3 Top 10 albums with well over 1,000,000 sales. Their music was characterized by astute, observational lyrics and big, hook driven melodies, typified by their most recognisable single, Inbetweener. Louise Wener was an iconic front-person, heading up a movement that brought women center stage in guitar music. Sleeper split In 1998 and walked purposely away from the limelight. Wener carved out a career as a successful novelist. Drummer Andy Maclure and John Stewart, Sleeper’s guitarist, both became lecturers in music studies. Sleeper’s current line-up are joined by former Prodigy bassist Kieron Pepper.
The 90’s saw an explosion of strong front women in bands, in what was largely referred to as Britpop. Garbage, The Cranberries, Elastica, Skunk Anansie, Catatonia, Echobelly and The Cardigans to name a few. In fact this month The Cardigans released all six of their albums on vinyl, two of which are available on vinyl for the very first time.
Another album wasn’t meant to happen. In fact, the band had promised each other it never would.
“We had no plan to get back together. Sometimes life throws you a massive curve ball. You end up jumping off the cliff, just to see what it feels like.”: Singer, Louise Wener
The band spent last summer recording The Modern Age with their long time producer, Stephen Street, a relationship that clicked into place again right away. They tracked live at Metway Studios in their adopted city of Brighton, before decamping to Street’s studio in West London to add the finishing touches. The Modern Age is the outward looking sound of a band revitalized and refreshed. Covering subjects from motherhood and social media to personal loss and, inevitably, relationships. It retains Sleeper’s classic pop sensibilities with a shiny, new, contemporary feel. The first single to be taken from the album is Look at You Now, which was released last December. Initially it appears to be referencing Sleeper’s comeback, but it’s a protest song at heart: a howl for the politically homeless in a landscape where reasoned debate has given way to vitriol. Having had a sneaky preview listen of the album, I can confirm that fans of Sleeper will love it. They have not lost any of the edginess that hey had during their peak, as Look At You Know demonstrates.
Sleeper will be touring the UK from March and will be appearing at various festivals. It has just been announced that they will be at the Cool Britannia Festival at the world famous Knebworth Park in August. More dates are to be announced so keep your eyes peeled.
Dates so far:
21 – GLASGOW Garage
22- NEWCASTLE Riverside
23- EDINBURGH Liquid Rooms
28- SOUTHAMPTON Engine Rooms
29- NORTHAMPTON Roadmender
30- LEEDS Church
04- DERBY The Venue
05- CARDIFF The Globe
12- BRISTOL- 02 Academy
13- LONDON KENTISH TOWN Forum