|SLEEPY PEOPLE - latest update 24th AUGUST 2007|
|SLEEPY PEOPLE - English art rock sound that tasted of Ultrasound or Super Furry Animals or Scott Walker or Gong or Cardiacs or lots of 70's things like Nation Health or Gentle Giant|
The Pop-A-Cat-A-Petal/Ultrasound/Sleepy People story, now where did all this start?
I don't know, this is probably one of our longest stories of all - SLEEPY PEOPLE are from Newcastle. There's been numerous releases - the tape albums "Strange Planets Emerging From Behind The Coal Shed" (AKA Pop-kid) and the classic english art rock tastes of "Blunt Nails In A Sharp Wall" - a mix of warm inviting early Genesis, classic Cardiacs, Pere Ubu, Gentle Giant, Gong and that unique Sleepy People sound. The tapes flew all over the world and Sleepy People built up a rather healthy underground reputation - and to cut a long long long story short the underground success coupled with the frustrating non-acknowledgement from the mainstream pulled them in two.... half the band choose to head down to London in search of streets paved of gold, record contracts, fame and fortune - whilst the other half re-grouped in Newcastle, the Newcastle half kept the name and somehow managed to find a front man capable of replacing Tiny (yes, him, more in minute, hang on) - Sleepy People followed their two fine tape albums with a 7" single "Home Is Where The Telly Is/Hanghar" on Newcastle label Edgy and then a fine CD album called "Typhoid & Swans" (also on Edgy) - meanwhile the other half of the Sleepies - including Richard Green and the aforementioned Tiny - moved down to London and set about thrilling the capital's underground with a band called POP-A-CAT-A-PETAL (including one particularly fine performance at the 1994 Organ Christmas Party at the Astoria where they opened for Cardiacs and won themselves a lot of new friends). Somewhere during all this we released a Pop-A-Cat-A-Petal tape EP on ORG (and sold loads of them at gigs and via the pages of various fanzines) - so while up in Newcastle Sleepy People were building up their underground reputation, Pop-A-Cat-Petal were doing the same in London (both as ignored as ever by the mainstream, both enjoying the attention of the underground and the more aware fanzines)
Pop-A-Cat-A-Thingy thankfully somewhere along the way changed their name to Ultrasound and then drafted in Vanessa.... Of course Andy, Tiny and Richard were right, a beautiful set of flukes resulted in those faltering journalists at the NME thinking they'd discovered another new band and indeed the members of Ultrasound discovering the streets of London were indeed (for a time) paved with gold....
Meanwhile Sleepy People were busy working on their fifth album and starting to attract a slice of long overdue mainstream attention themselves...
And over here at ORG (in 1999) we released Blunt Nails on CD for the first time (with previously unreleased tracks) - and no, we don't plan to re-issue the Pop-A-Cat-A-Petal EPNEXT MOVES?
ULTRASOUND were everywhere for about a year, their debut album came out on NUDE - they were all over the front covers of the press, the darlings for a time - read about it in back issues of the NME...
SLEEPY PEOPLE were last reported to be working on their new album "Missing Man" which we were at one time talking about releasing on ORG. Sleepy People's "Blunt Nails In A Sharp Wall" , an album recorded when Tiny, Richard and Andy from Ultrasound were in the band, is available on CD for the first time complete with tracks that didn't make it on to the original tape. There's a taster track from the Blunt nails album on ORGAN RADIO 10 in the shape of Rarebird At The Window
Where are they today? SLEEPY PEOPLE rather than follow up our release with their new album instead changed their name to BLUE APPLE BOY - a single came out on Shifty Disco and then a rather good one on their own label andthen who knows....
ULTRASOUND/SLEEPY PEOPLE GUITARIST RICHARD GREEN has now emeged in a fine new band called The Somatics
|PRESS QUOTES AND SUCH|
wasa lot of press, here's a rather good review from Potbelly.
To the more conventional prog fan, Sleepy People might take a bit of getting used to. They break the usual mould of guitar/synth solos in 7/8 with a much more diverse selection of influences, but remaining true to the original ideas being what progressive rock was always meant to be. There are strange time signatures, complex song structures etc, but also there are out and out punk sections and trombones. Prepare to broaden your mind!
Many people appear on different tracks on the album. The main core of the band comprises Paul Hope on guitar, Tiny Wood on lead vocals, Rachel Theresa on flute and vocals, and Richard Green on bass. Also appearing on the album are Andy Pearce, Graeme Swaddle and Kerry Harrison all on drums, Liz Wardby and Pete Haslam on keyboards. Jonny Abbott appears on three tracks on violin and trombone.
The first track, Mr Marconi's Unusual Theory immediately sets the scene of the album with what appears to be Sleepy People's central style, not a million miles away from that of Cardiacs. They blend definite proggy sections with what can only be described as punk, with megaphone vocals, and it works great. The prog side keeps the punk from getting too aggressive or repetitive, and the punk keeps the prog from getting too pretentious and prehistoric!! I think it was The Organ magazine who invented the term "Pronk", and it's perfect for Sleepy People. There's something about the feel of some of this music that reminds me of IQ's The Enemy Smacks. There's simply too much to say about this track. Delve deeper and you'll bump into something akin to Madness, but you'll also hear a real flute pretending to be a Mellotron impersonation of a flute....
Heroes and Sheroes comes up next; a song you could just as easily dance to as you could listen on headphones in a darkened room. Some lovely fretless bass, flute and hammond combine to give a very distinctive sound. Sleepy People manage to get the balance between repetition and change just right, so the songs are incredibly accessible, and yet they have depth to hold your interest. I can't decide whether the warbling vocals remind me more of Chris de Burgh or Fergal Sharkey, but their slightly psycho feel adds a perfect bizarre element to the music.
Strawberries is an interesting track. Starting off with some lovely synth sounds (breaking away from Sleepy People's more raw sound), combined with dischordal guitar licks, it quickly progresses through some obscure vocals (more warble!) onto bite-size snippets of 12-bar blues complete with cheesy (but good!) harmony backing vocals. Sleepy People have this rare ability to shoehorn whatever style of music they like into a song, and it will fit perfectly. Before you know it you're back into some unusual time signatures, bizarre sound effects, disturbing screams in the background, and punk! And then all of a sudden, you're surrounded by mellow lyrics about "Strawberries down the mine" accompanied by a smooth jazzy groove. Definitely the most memorable part of the album for me.
Up next is Sordid Sentimental, with its flute/bass grooves (seemingly one of Sleepy People's trademarks), strange vocal keys and haunting atmosphere. This track also features some very appropriate backing vocals from Rachel Theresa, and violin parts from Jonny Abbott.
Invisible Wires creeps in with almost operatic male..err..well sounds. I can't decide whether it's singing, speaking, crying, reciting, or what, and I'm not sure what language (if any) it is either. Either way, it kicks the track off with a very mournful atmosphere, which is quickly overtaken by Sleepy People's characteristic flute/hammond groove. Some bits of the track remind of White Mountain by Genesis with its prog-folk (frog?) flute parts. Some very proggy sections follow, along with the unexpected appearance of a trombone and finally more punk. What more could you ask of a song?!
Nicky's Little Army features that flute/bass pairing once more, this time with quite a jumpy abstract pattern, over a relentlessly urgent 2/4 drum beat. After a couple of minutes of technical workout, the song breaks into the main groove, featuring an interesting vocal part with deep backing vocals. Some lovely melodic stuff in this track.
The last track, Rare Bird at the Window has to be one of the more obscure tracks on the album, with many broken up, disjunct ideas, and psychotic vocals (they reminded me of early Fish but I'm not really sure why). The lyric, "He takes out his eyes and throws them in the whirlpool" sticks in my mind. I think skeletal dislocation specialist band 5UU's would be quite proud of this song. After a few minutes, we slide into a slick '70s funk groove, and witness some lovely group "sing-along" vocals, and a selection of 5/8 rhythms to keep you off your toes. Great stuff.
All in all
a great refreshing album that a prog fan can enjoy when his/her prog CD
collection starts to look a bit cobwebby. The album is packed with nice
ideas, tons of energy, and keeps you engaged to the end. But only if you're
sufficiently open-minded.... Conclusion: 8 out of 10.
|RELEASES ON ORG RECORDS|
organ007 4 track ep
Releases elsewhere on other labels: I'll list them when I get a second - go look at the biog on the Blue Apple Boy site
|GO TO MAILORDER PAGE TO BUY YOUR SLEEPY PEOPLE RELEASES ON ORG|
|THE ORGAN ONLINE SLEEPY PEOPLE PAGE - NOT AVAILABLE -HOWEVER, HERE'S BLUE APPLE BOY AND HERE'S THE SOMATICS|
|THE ORGANART.COM GIG GUIDE FOR GIG NEWS|
|OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.blueappleboy.co.uk|
SLEEPY PEOPLE A fan site that claims to be "official", it's not, it's a healthy fan site - for official feedback DIRECT from main Sleepy man Paul go to the Blue Apple Boy Site
SHIFTY DISCO - Released the first Blue Apple Boy single
ULTRASOUND Floodlit World tasty unofficial site, far better than Nude's official one
ULTRASOUND Tasty unofficial site
ULTRASOUND Tasty unofficial site
ABSOLUTE-A-GO-GO U.S label releasing Ultrasound stuff over there
|OTHER THINGS OF INTEREST: MORE SLEEPY PEOPLE IMAGES AND PICTURES AND THINGS ON A SLEEPY PEOPLE PAGE WE STARTED ONCE BUT NEVER GOT AROUND TO COMPLETING|
|DOWNLOAD MP3 HERE:|