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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 8 August 2003
I bought Lovers on the strength of one song (This Day) included on one of those compilation CDs on the front of a magazine. Why they chose to give away this one as a freebie is a mystery, I’d have thought it a certainty for release as a single. The chorus is a strong one anyway, even before the magnificent nah, nah, nah, nah, NAH, NAH (believe me, this sounds WAY better than it looks) hook kicks in – surely the moment of the album.
Luke Steele demonstrates on this song, and others, an uncanny ability to marry raw emotion with a killer tune. Acid in my Heart has emotion in spades, from the vitriolic first line ‘It’s true, I never had no fun with you…’, but this is housed within a melody that nags away at you all day long, despite not having a ‘chorus’ in the massive, signposted, sing-along sense that catchy songs are supposed to have.
Other notable tracks are Rain falls for Wind, with another killer first line ‘I’ve been drinking, and I’ve been thinking of you…’, and Tell The Girls I'm Not Hangin' Out, which, with it’s swirly guitars and dancy drums, sounds like the commercial end of Primal Scream.
Trying to pigeonhole the sound isn’t easy (or necessary) – lets just say if you enjoy mellow guitar music WITH EDGE, you will enjoy this. It doesn’t rock, but neither does it make for comfortable listening at times.
The only real downside to this album is the way it tails off just a bit towards the end. Songs in the latter half of the album tend to be barer and less produced, which is fine in it’s own right, but they are also a little weaker. Reshuffling the running order or having higher production values on these tracks could have alleviated the slight anticlimax of the last half.
This is being picky, though, as this is still a great album. If country-alt-rock (OK, I tried) is your thing, you will appreciate The Sleepy Jackson.
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on 10 November 2003
Forget the preening reviews from the indie press..this isnt the new Beck or Mogwai or Flaming Lips.
Aussie one man outfit Sleepy Jackson deliver the a nice ragged stew of sxities-influenced country music.George Harrison is in the mix on a few tracks as a ghostly influence,alongside some nice,chirpy mainstream rock.
But for something I usually find abhorrent this is a great album...its not 100% feelgood fun and Luke Steele has mixed some great twists in the tracks.."Vampire Racecourse" wss a forgotten classic from the summer whilst "Come To This" is an aussie harmony-fest.
On the spoken tracks Steele's attempts to sound Yankee are a tad strange but overall this is a sold and interesting debut long player.
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on 2 August 2003
This is a highly inventive new album from a bunch of Australians. It lies somewhere between the cut 'n' paste approach of the Avalanches - only less dancey - with elements of the wierder side of alt country - cf. Flaming Lips. Great tunes -and altogether a great debut.
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on 18 November 2005
On waking from a beautiful dream on a cold winter afternoon, my ears were caressed by what sounded like George Harrison being joined by a choir of children singing some kind of wierd christmas carol come country ballad. I opened my eyes to find that I was watching the video for 'Good Dancers', an amazing video by the way, and instantly fell madly in love with the Sleepy Jackson.
To be fair to Luke Steele, he's not the new anything. He's a genius in his own right. Taking whatever he likes from other people's music and mashing it with his Brian Wilson like ear for harmony. The results are eclectic, moving and often confusing.
Unfortunatley for you, you're gonna end up with a lot of rubbish country albums as you search for something close to 'Miniskirt'. And so alarmingly good are tracks like 'Come To This' and 'This Day' that there's a good chance that you'll listen to the album twice straight away just to hear them again.
Gradually the other songs seep into your subconscious like the touching 'Acid In My Heart' and the utterly confounding and beautiful Flaming Lips meet Yoko Ono and a Christmas choir (again) epic 'Don't you Know'.
The real trick that Steele has pulled off here is picking odd bits from an artist's back catalogue that you may not listen to (excluding the Flaming Lips). 'Pop' era U2 is given a look in for instance on 'Tell The Girls...' and is far more interesting than most of the stuff U2 were doing during this era.
What you end up with is a schizophrenic Greatest Hits of an artist that never existed, until now ofcourse. The Sleepy Jackson's Scatterbrained genius may not knock you off your feet right away like it did me but eventually, you'll come around.
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on 25 February 2004
While everybody seems to be mentioning the country aspects, and Gram Parsons; the guitar based structures, and George Harrison etc etc, the names that came to mind most, for me when listening to this cracking album, were Elliott Smith, Bob Dylan and John Lennon.
On a load of the tracks, Luke Steele's voice sounds a carbon copy of Dylan. This is probably best seen on 'Come to This', where the verses sound like Dylan singing over a country tinged song.
The arrangements and guitar parts also sounded like Elliott Smith to my mind, probably more circa Figure 8 though. Certainly, if you like Smith's music (doesn't everybody?), you'll lap this up. To be fair, the Lennon mention hinges mostly around the first track, Good Dancers - a great intro to what Lovers offers by the way - is pure Lennon, or Number 9 Dream to be more precise.
All this makes the album sound like a rip off of other artists, but it most assuredly is not. Steele imprints his own , very unique, style on this album (witness the children's choir, and also the solo child's voice on Morning Bird). Steele's music comes across as the produce of a lifetime indulging in quality folk / rock / country (and other substances, judging by reports), with Lovers the current peak.
An album you can keep coming back to, life affirming and full of brilliant choruses, melodies and lyrics, Lovers showcases a talent covering various music categories with confidence and enthusiasm.
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on 2 July 2003
The Sleepy Jackson are one of the greatest new bands around today, although I admit there are plenty of them. hailing from Australia, they bring a bit of Mercury Rev, along with a load of other acts, and merge it into some of the most wonderful sounding music ever. NME have hyped these lot incredibly, but they do deserve it. This is beautiful, swirling, psycadelic rock with a thouroughly modern twist. There are some wonderful songs on this album, of which I have heard a preview. This Day, Good Dancers and Vampire Racecourse are all wonderful songs, but the rest is no slouch either. So it isn't all perfect. I prefer my music a little more rememerable, if that is a word, a little more catchy. Most of the album is, but sometimes it goes a little too trippy for it's own good. this can probably be put down to the fact that Luke Steele, the lead of the group has been on drugs for about 10 years. This has the poppy singles, wonderful lyrics, and haunting, beautiful guitar work. A great debut*
*it isn't technically, you an also get their mini LP The Sleepy Jackson, which contains Good Dancers and some beautiful ballads.
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on 5 December 2003
We all know, that music sounds better in the right situation. I couldn't but feel thrilled when I heard 'The District Sleeps Alone Tonight' by 'The Postal Service' (Even if the rest of the debut was dull) in the car in a deserted country lane. 'Lovers' is no different, being the perfect swansong for the summer. The weather changes faster than Tony Blair's policies and there is a sense of tension and release. Just like 'Lovers'.
Luke Steel, Austrailian Oddball Extrodinaire has created his own little world, with so much character and flair, it's beautiful. The dynamics and styles change throughout, keeping the album fresh and light. 'Don't You Know' is a spacey ballad, seemingly lifted from Jetsons - The Movie, while 'Old Dirt Farmer' (which comes straight after) is a hillbilly hoedown. Incidently, they're two of the best because of their ambition. Luke Steel has such a skill for making perfect harmonies and angelic choirs, that it takes the song to a higher plain, as demonstrated on the single 'Good Dancers', and the thunder storm that is 'Rain Falls for Wind'
The album, while being placed under 'rock' in your local HMV Store, is really a country album, but one with little electro sprinkles on top that makes the music even more engaging. Brilliant!
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on 12 December 2003
Kicking off with the sublime single 'Good Dancers' (surely up there with 'Crazy In Love','Seven Nation Army' and 'Hey Ya' as a single of the year) this was probaly the album I have listned to most this year.
The album is a definite progression from the mini self titled album they released earlier this year with songs like 'Acid In My Heart' and 'Don't You Know' sounding truly epic and nothing like anything from their debut album. However fans of their poppy, country styled songs such as 'Caffine In The Morning Sun' and 'Miniskirt'(which also appears on this album) will not be dissapointed; 'This Day' and 'Old Dirt Farmer' being particullary catchy.
Even at its most experimental this album is always tuneful and never unlistenable. This is a defintite must buy for anyone, especially for those who don't already own the debut mini album.
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on 24 July 2006
Think of a mixture of George Harrison, Brian Wilson, The Velvet Underground, The Byrds and the Flaming Lips and you have The Sleepy Jackson.

Hailing from Australia its basically a one man show with front man Luke Steele, when not sacking band members, showcasing his incredible musical scope.

It kicks off with "Good Dancers" a superb summer pop anthem sounding as though George Harrison never left us, all falsetto vocals and jangly guitars. It then moves through a collection of songs that will brighten up anyones day.

The gloriously countryfied twang of "Miniskirt" and "Come To This" To the pounding darkness of The Velvet Underground esque "Vampire Racecourse" this album will have something for everyone.
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on 11 October 2003
Since ditching the juice and finding God, Luke Steele has finally got his act together and crafted a truly wondrous work of art. The fact that Steele is prone to go off the boil a little at given times means that 'Lovers' posesses a string of subtle quirks to keep the mix of things 100% unsullied.
For instance, the dry monologue of 'Fill me with Apples' or the idiosyncratic lunacy of 'Miniskirt' provide the perfect comedic backdrop to what is one of the lushest albums of 2003.
In terms of unprocessed magnificence then, 'Come To This' and 'Don't You know' are the chief conquests.
However it's the stunning 'Rain Falls For Wind' that heralds the beginning of a new whiz kid in mint condition.
Well and truly astounding.
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