A joint release between Big Tea and FIFA Records, this debut EP by Irish band Elastic Sleep is a like a vapourous retro-fuelled dream. With layers of fuzz dragging their core sound through a technicolour haze, ‘Leave You’ is first class hybrid of dreampop and shoegaze.
Beginning their woozy journey with the title cut, ‘Leave You’ doesn’t even grace the listener with an intro before catching the ear. A shimmering chord, a soft female voice and a world of shiny filters sets the scene for an old-school indie workout. The melding of female and male voices in close harmony on the core of this number gives a very full sound overall while just below the surface mid-paced rumble on the bass pins the floating sounds together. This might just be captivating enough for genre fans to love this track alone, but its a brief guitar lead rising from within the ethereal shimmer that really sets this apart – it’s higher register notes cutting through the air in a way befitting parts of The Church’s classic ‘Starfish’ album. Similar aural sculptures are tackled in a deeper, longer formation during ‘Splish’. A little louder in places, it’s a track that takes longer with which to get to grips – lacking the lead guitar of the opener, it occasionally wanders into indifference, but the overall sound is very appealing. Although very much dreampop by numbers, the first rate production/mix really allows the vocalists to shine.
Tackling something harder, ‘I Found Love’ is the product of a Kim Deal fashioned bassline and a deep, almost drawling voice. Crashing cymbals and a wall of reverb pushes everything closer to fellow Big Tea signings Dead Wolf Club or ‘Isn’t Everything’ era MBV than Opal or Mazzy Star but, again, the results are enjoyable. It may not have the other worldly quality or strong guitar motifs of the opener, but this track shows the band to be a tight musical unit and one that can bring some hard chops if and when necessary. Similar rockist tendencies drive the crashy ‘Tzar Bomba’ with a wall of fuzzed up guitars and a loud snare drum. While this basic more garage-driven noise doesn’t have much crossover appeal for listeners who never really tapped into shoegaze, there’s no denying it still sounds pretty fabulous when played loudly.
The quasi-psych freakout ‘Deep and Blue’ throws out most of the loud tendencies in order to concentrate on a slow, simple and relentless guitar chord chiming over and over, against which the wistful vocal from the opening number adds something of a Cocteau Twins influence. While these guys show no desire to make up their own language, the vocal phrasing and overall vibe makes the lyrics occasionally hard to decipher. This almost “voice as instrument” approach adds further to the haunting qualities of Elastic Sleep’s dreamworld. Sparsest of all, ‘Stay’ sounds like a home recording as whistles and echoed voices place themselves against a casiotone drum loop. Dreampop at its most basic, it certainly works for them, even though an old-fashioned keyboard solo – one bringing some of the unsettling qualities of a 1970s Vangelis outing – threatens to derail their efforts in the process!
Dreampop lovers will have heard music in this vein time and again, but its early nineties style is bound to resonate with those who were there first time around – the sounds of pre-grunge shoegaze and Cocteau-obsession dragged into the twenty first century with absolute ease. Delivering their retro grooves with far better results than most, like the works of Australian dreampoppers The Oyster Murders, Elastic Sleep’s joyous sounds should be sought out at your earliest convenience.
Buy the EP from Big Tea Records here!
Buy the EP from Big Tea Records here!