ep review ~ 'sleepy' ~ sleeping outside

Sleeping Oustide ~ 'Sleepy'

For fans of⁞► Modern Baseball, Cloud Nothings

For some, the golden age of the North Coast music scene had been and gone. And So I Watch You From Afar made the big time. Axis Of similarly so...and since then? Well, there hadn't been too much to get excited about. Gigs became scarce, those that remained didn’t get the biggest of crowds. Change was needed and in four young lads called Little Arcadia, the North finally got some.

Indeed, these last few years have seen an indie resurgence, still inspired by the harder edges of those legends past. A series of new band’s slowly emerged up North, bringing with them fresh perspective of an ever changing cultural and political landscape. There were new people to sing songs about and new people to sing them; and so a new scene was born. 

Like it or not, alt-four piece Sleeping Outside now have the responsibility of helping to carry this new scene; but could their four track debut ‘Sleepy’ go someway to living up to that hype? Taylor Johnson had a listen…

Long term fans of Sleeping Outside (from the ‘Omerta’ days) will immediately recognise the familiar burst of ‘Inhaler’, ‘Sleepy’s explosive opening track and so often the band’s opener on stage. Regret tinged and cinematic in equal measure, ‘Inhaler’ races to a crescendo of unusually comforting sadness, broken only by a well-timed slowdown. Frontman Shea McCauley’s vocals have never sounded so pristine and clear, floating over the band’s raucous noise. Maintaining this blistering pace is ‘Shoelaces’, which sounds straight off of Cloud Nothing’s ‘Turning On’ EP, albeit with a lighter finish. What’s beautiful here is for every tragic lyric there’s a catchy melody, an engaging bass run. This is heartbreak you can dance to. 

We’re then hit with ‘Postcards’, a ferocious emo-anthem bordering on early Modern Baseball. We also hear McCauley at his most introspective. ‘You sent me postcards from places I’ve never been, set it on the mantelpiece and never look at it again…this is the reason why we can’t simply be friends’. Lead guitarist Andy Kane also gets his first chance to really let go, in a sea of feedback.

It’s here Sleeping Outside tear up the rulebook and remind you of their roots. ‘Two For Joy’s gradual build up and triumphant ending is an exhilarating and unexpected finish to a strong debut. It perhaps to acts as a nod to Little Arcadia, a band that from day one supported Sleeping Outside at every opportunity; a love clearly reciprocated by all those involved in the North Coast scene.

As cool an instrumental as it is, you still long to hear more of the stories McCauley and his band mates tell so well. It is here where they truly shine and the reason why you’ll return to ‘Sleepy’ more than once. 

Taylor Johnson

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