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The Sleep Tape by The High Wire

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Reviewed on 25th January 2010.


The Sleep Tape

By The High Wire

I'm really glad that smoky, hazy, dreamy guitar pop is cool again. Do you remember when Black Rebel Motorcycle first startled us with BRMC back in 2001, and in between hitting us with 'Whatever Happened To My Rock 'n' Roll' and 'Spread Your Love,' we were swooned into semi consciousness with the opium-laced druggy waves of 'As Sure As The Sun' and 'Too Real'? Right, now, keep this in mind, and then imagine a hybrid between Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and School of Seven Bells... ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for The High Wire.

With 'The Sleep Tape,' you very soon come to realise that The High Wire aren't necessarily trying to make an album of separate songs, but rather present a forty minute long atmospheric meander through their melodious reveries. Every song hits that brilliant balance of complimentary boy / girl vocals that can bring a light poppiness to what could otherwise easily become laboured. 'The Midnight Bell' reels us in with its zephyr-like pop hooks, and just in case we needed further seduction, 'Hang From The Lights' manages to balance almost retro T-Rex-esque guitars with a fleshier, more complex, layered sound. It's the kind of song where it's so hard to track the change from verse to chorus that you convince yourself that there isn't a detectable hook, but then, before you know where you are, you're singing "It's the last time I take you out tonight..." from the top of your lungs.

'The Sleep Tape' really could belong on a BRMC record, with its more assertive, edgier guitar sounds and a dominating drum beat that really drives the whole force of the song. But there's a notable springtime softness about The High Wire that make them more accessible than a band like BRMC, or even the chic electro of School of Seven Bells; they're more blurred around the edges, more kumbaya.

The one identifiable hang up is the fact that The High Wire don't shift in pace throughout the record. But this can be attributed to the aforementioned continuation of the dreamy atmosphere that flows and swirls and climbs and falls throughout. The High Wire have stuck to their guns. They've been deliberately cool, deliberately calm, deliberately understated. Curl up, and pull 'The Sleep Tape' over you like a big blanket; revel in its golden sonorousness, and bathe in its rays of sunshine.



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