Sleeper: Kentish Town Forum, London

When Sleeper reformed, it was always going to be fun for everyone to take a trip down memory lane. They’re one of the greats of their era. When they announced a new album, the nerves jangled more, then ‘The Modern Age’ came out and rivals, if not surpasses anything they’ve ever done. So, could they bring the new album to life live? You bet your Saturday hairdo they could!

When a band is tagged to a scene such as Sleeper were to Britpop, there is a danger the energy of those songs can fade. It can never be the same again right? No one told Jon Stewart. His playing is bolder on ‘Statuesque’ and more aggressive on ‘Delicious’ than ever before.

Some bands are about the collective, and some, however humbly they deny it, are about the front person. Sleeper are that band and Louise Wener is said icon. Daenerys Targaryen has nothing on Wener. Her vocals on ‘What Do I Do Now’ transport everyone back to the heartache of teenage years. However, it’s on the new material she really comes alive. As the trippy guitars WHAT SONG revolve around north London, Wener subtly deploys her knowing and sexy vocals to crushing effect. No one is left in any doubt just how fucked up the times we live in by the end.

Too many bands deliberately deploy a dip, in order to bring the crowd back up. Frankly, it’s annoying! Sleeper seem fully aware, there just simply isn’t any let up. The crowd is fully on board with the new material, no time for piss breaks! When they deployed multiple disco balls during ‘Atomic’/’Love Will Tear Us Apart’, cystitis seemed worth risking to be honest.

As they closed the night out with the classic ‘Sale Of The Century’, an air of desperation arises. The dawning realisation that they might disappear for another 22 years led to everyone’s soul being laid bare in the Forum.

If that’s all she wrote for Sleeper, it was even more joyous second time round!

Our 8th birthday party is Friday 2nd August at the New Cross Inn. Click the image below for tickets:

Echobelly – Anarchy and Alchemy

Echobelly will forever be tagged with Britpop, but with albums released in 2001 and 2004, they have already proven they can outlive that bubble. They return with their first single in 10 years after successful acoustic and full band tours in recent times.

With the use of a stand up bass, 'Anarchy and Alchemy' takes on a distinct jazz foundation. Meanwhile, Sonya's vocals add a sense of anxiousness, particularly within the abstract chorus. It's a terrific reflection of the times, the chemical sense that things are going nowhere or often backwards looms larger all the time.

Sonya's chief partner in crime, Glen Johansson, is also on fine form too. His guitar playing stokes the fires and provides the anarchy to Sonya's alchemy on this subdued yet raw single. What a pleasure to have them back once more.

You Can purchase this now via their Pledge Music page here:

Listen to the new single and Sonya in conversation with BBC6's Stuart Maconie here: