Sleep Kicks – Words in Vain

Posted: 25 January 2023 in Singles and EPs
Tags: , , , , , , ,

3rd February 2023

Christopher Nosnibor

Aural Aggro regulars Sleep Kicks make a welcome return with their latest offering, ‘Words in Vain’. With a rumbling bassline and busy, effects-heavy guitars that soar tremulously, the opening bars of ‘Words in Vain’ smashes together The Fall’s take on ‘Jerusalem’ and Editors’ ‘Bullets’ – cathedrals of sound underpinned by an earthy thud, and this is one of those expansive, gut-pulling new-wave revival tunes in the vein of the early 2000s – think Interpol, Editors, White Lies – and it’s taut and evocative. There’s an emotional depth to the vocals, but there’s more than that: everything feels tightly packed and tense. And I can’t deny that I’m a sucker for that.

What is it about the post-punk template that endures? Why do these goth-tinged tunes have so much bite? It’s not simply nostalgia: hell, I was hardly born when this sound emerged in the late 70s and early 80s, and suspect that the turn of the millennium crop – the revivalists – were inspired by listening to their parents’ collections. And what goes around comes around, meaning the new bands emerging, in their twenties, have likely discovered the noughties revivalists via their own parents. But why do these cycles emerge?

I can’t help but suspect thee socio-political landscape has a fair bit to do with it. Rocketing inflation – not to mention strikes, droughts, and floods – mean parallels to the 70s are being drawn in the media, and for obvious and justified reasons. Social and economic troughs bring frustration, despondency, despair – and music which reflects that mood.

As troughs go, this is a deep one; we’re looking as escalating war and nuclear threat – same as in the early 80s – insane inflation and mass deprivation – with extreme climate, flooding, etc., etc, on top. People can’t afford to exist, let alone to live. And when things hit the bottom, art invariably rises to reflect the mood and present the voice of the zeitgeist.

AA

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