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Sleepy People biography

SLEEPY PEOPLE (not be confused with the New Wave band with the same name, or prog rock band SLEEPING PEOPLE) were a unique British band which was combining elements of progressive rock with punk and ska.

Certainly, they were not the first band to do such thing (neither the last), but SLEEPY PEOPLE's music is something worth experiencing - a melting pot of irregular time signatures, vintage prog keyboards, Tull-like flute (is there any other flute?), avangarde, ska, neo-prog, trombones, violins, 60's psychedelia, noise, bossa-nova, tango and what not.

Such a mixture was performed with high degree of theatrical approach; the musicians were wearing vivid costumes, turning their performances into a vivid rock cabaret.

The band was formed in Newcastle in the early 90's, with Paul Hope (guitars, vocals) being its core. The first line-up, along with Hope, was Tiny Wood on vocals, Rachel Theresa on flute, Richard Green on bass, Kerry Harrison on drums and Liz Wardby on keyboards. The early years were a turbulent period with frequent line-up changes: Pete Haslam and Andy Peace replaced Wardby and Harrison respectively, while Graeme Swaddle replaced Peace shortly after.

Somewhere around this period (1994) the band made their debut album ('Blunt Nails In A Sharp Wall') - a self-released cassette. Debut won't be re-relased on CD until 1999 - after their second album ('Typhoid And Swans'), which came out in 1997. It's worth mentioning the guest appearance of the violinist Graham Clark (of GONG fame) on 'Typhoid'.

SLEEPY PEOPLE disbanded in the late 90's - their members are nowadays scattered in various pop/rock bands with noticeable commercial success and/or inclination to the more straightforward musical approach, such are THE EMBASSY, BLUEAPPLE BOY and ULTRASOUND.

Sources: ; wikipedia and .

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2.13 | 4 ratings
Blunt Nails in a Sharp Wall
3.50 | 4 ratings
Typhoid And Swans

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Blunt Nails in a Sharp Wall by SLEEPY PEOPLE album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.13 | 4 ratings

Blunt Nails in a Sharp Wall
Sleepy People Eclectic Prog

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

2 stars An unusual blend of ska, heavy progressive rock, and jazzy symphonic tendencies, Sleepy People's 1994 album has a lot going on for it, but coherence isn't one of those things. There are catchy and even excellent moments throughout the record, but these are isolated incidents and there isn't a single song that is wholly good. Sleepy People presents some fantastic musical ideas, but the hyperbolic vocals are often headache-inducing- Koenjihyakkei comes to mind. There's nothing sleepy about this music, that's for sure.

"Mr Marconi's Unusual Theory" The big opening has loads of drums and quirky high-pitched noises. Then the erratic vocals jump in. Over a fast-paced rhythm and keyboards, the singer quiver, bounces, shrieks, whines, and almost yodels (all through a distorted effect). The instrumental section winds down only to have a snare hit bring the wild, frenzied verse back in.

"Heroes and Sheroes" Flute-driven rock makes the second track. The vocalist this time employs a forced vibrato at the end of every line, which is fairly annoying. The music is dynamic though, blending energetic rock with flowing, almost symphonic instrumental passages. The bass, flute, and quavering organ are the greatest aspects of the song.

"Strawberries" Dark atmospheric guitar and synthesizer introduces this bluesy cabaret that boasts more exaggeratedly spooky vocals. The chords and the way they are played during the verses makes me think of "House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals. The middle passage is experimental and disjointed, at first minimalistic, and then frenetic and bizarre. The bit that follows is a coolly spoken-word section, interspersed with a sung chorus. In a way, this second half is like the New Zealand act OMC.

"Sordid Sentimental" Electronic-based disco pulsates and grooves. The female vocals are a pleasant part, but the erratic lead singing just isn't my thing. The middle section involves a variety of instruments in a placid setting before jumping back into the funk.

"Invisible Wires" An a cappella performance that would have gotten someone laughed off the stage of American Idol opens this heavy rocker, which is very close to ska. The singer this time sounds quite a bit like Sting here, though.

"Nicky's Little Army" A repetitive puffed flute line over equally repetitive drumming jars along as a distant synthesizer grinds over it. This is a very energetic song (like the others), with chugging guitar, happy flute, and theatrical vocals. There's also some semblance of a guitar solo, but the guitarist sounds like he's playing in another room. The conclusion is equally active, but those wordless vocals and the build itself is an outstanding way to end the song.

"Rare Bird at the Window" For a change of pace, the last song carries a baroque sound with harpsichord and flute, interrupting that with an abrasive rock sound. Soon the music abruptly becomes flute-led smooth jazz. The wildest vocal moments appear on this track, which is easily the most diverse on the album. I really love the composition and it has grown on me, but the overall arrangement and incoherence makes the experience of listening to it like riding a roller coaster with missing parts.

Thanks to clarke2001 for the artist addition.

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