SLEEPING PICTURES - Nether Edge - CD - 13 tracks - Fluttering Dragon Records - 2003

After a very promising ep " Life Discounted", Sleeping Pictures are back with a full-length album. Though this record has been released almost more than a year ago, it's still time to talk about it, as the quality of this recording hasn't changed with time, and it sounds even better now after such a long time since the first listening. Apart from the two original members, Marc Blackie and Gary Parsons, who play most of the instruments and composed all music and lyrics, the two musicians are helped by John Murphy, Tony Wakeford, Renée Rosen-Wakeford or Hunter Barr. These last ones already played on the first ep. And Gary Parsons also play live with Tony Wakeford and Karl Blake under the name of Trio Noir. He also contributed to the next Sol Invictus album, "The Devil's Steed ", to be released early 2005.

Five tracks already appeared on " Life Discounted", which makes this album even more interesting for those who missed the ep. The music still reminds me of Eyeless in Gaza and Legendary Pink Dots and the voice of Edward-Ka-Spell, but despite some similarities, Sleeping Pictures found their own way of creating music, with a very recognizable sound and very unique approach of dark-folk music. A plaintive voice, an acoustic guitar, a sad violin, fantastic percussions by John Murphy (as ever), tiny notes of piano join to create a rare alchemy of melancholy and bitterness which can be more or less compared to the English answer to the Portuguese fado. Some tracks are more powerful, with strength, intensity and martial rythms, such as "Circulation" or "Love the Criminal", which can be classics of the neofolk genre. "Infamy Into Glory", "Soap Opera Life", "Angel" or Ship of Fools" are typically dark-folk songs while "Horns of Plenty" explores the post-punk roots of the duo. There is also a lot of traditional 70's folk music in their sound as well.

Note that Sleeping Pictures also recorded a cover version of Sol Invictus "The Killing Tide" for the Sol tribute album released by Cynfeirdd and they also recorded a Scott Walker cover "Girls and Dogs" for a soon to be released tribute. Their next album, "Many Hands Should Throw Stones", will be released in 2005, and don't forget the Heimdallr Session they recorded for us and that you still find in our Session page.

A very fine folk noir release that is highly recommended !

Stéphane F.
Autumn 2004

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