Usually I like my post-punk dark and dystopic. Beginning with the nihilistic early style of the genre by Joy Division to the more apocalyptic vibe of recent Extinction Of Mankind or even blended with other genres, resulting in the “gloomcore” of Planks for instance. Nevertheless GLOOM SLEEPER hit me from the beginning with their nowadays unusual interpretation of this style. Their first demo was melancholic Punk-Rock. Their influences reached from melodic punk of the mid-90s to the roots of post-punk. Full of emotions, with driving vibes and playful harmonies.
“A Void” took those influences and brings GLOOM SLEEPER to another level of awesomeness. All known elements were developed to the next level, bringing more influences and variations to the music. And the addition of fantastic Hammond organs extend the sound to an outstanding mixture.
With this wide palette of ingredients “A Void” is a versatile record. From noisy garage rock like early Nirvana to more minimalist and gloomy post-punk tracks in the vein of Joy Division to more playful The Smiths-styled moments, this album has huge variations. Incorporating some moments of melodic punk rock as well as subtile support of the Hammond organ / keyboards creates a very unique style for GLOOM SLEEPER.
Starting with a pushing drive, “The Black Side” combines most elements of “A Void”s sound. Followed by a more noisy number it takes a surprising turn with the more melancholic and calm “Like Ghosts”. But the strong refrain sticks to the ear and the development of this track catches the listener easily. This is the moment when the record starts do unfold and shows all of its potential. Elements from Joy Division meet The Smiths, or early Nirvana in the following tracks, just to take another turn on “Conspiracy”. This is a really great, gloomy track whose lyrics could be written by Morrissey.
And other turnarounds follow for the rest of “A Void” as well.
Where some moments seem to be reduced and minimalist post-punk the other moment shows how playful all instruments complement each other. Great guitar lines meet strong bass play, everything gets support by decent keyboards and finds its foundation in straight but very intelligent drumming. On some tracks the vocals have some background support. Sometimes more subtile, in other moments in Nirvana-like exchange between the melodic voice and some harsher vocals.
Although I mentioned many references more than once, the mixture delivered by GLOOM SLEEPER is more than the reminiscences of old bands. They have a very own profile and stand out between many other bands. The more I listen to “A Void”, the more I like this record. Each song has his own vibe but still maintains this special feeling that defines “A Void”. So if you’re looking for post-punk with this special twist and individual ideas, check this record out.
It is available digitally (even as “free” pay-what-you-want), on tape via Colossus Tapes and as LP from Per Koro Records.