Hey, Sleeper recalls a time when the indie-folk singer-songwriter was re-established in pop music, reminding us that some things never change
It seems also that the indie-folk singer-songwriter his still here and while Rice may not be among them his songwriting prowess can be indentified in the person of the UK’s Luke Roberts, AKA Hey, Sleeper.
Hey, Sleeper nods towards Elliott Smith, William Fitzsimmons, Iron and Wine, and Bright Eyes on his EP Gone For Ten Fingers. Opener Done Deal sees an Iron Wine-like melody buttressed by a whispery vocal, the sort that made you drop your tea cup when you first heard Benjamin Francis Leftwich sing. Home#2 adopts an approach to titling similar to Elliott Smith’s debut LP Roman Candle, known for a series of songs entitled No Name#…. The music, though, would be better suited to soundtracking a Richard Curtis film than to creeping under the stairs and letting the darkness engulf.
Could You Just bears the greatest resemblance to Rice, sounding not unlike Rice’s career starting, Closer-featured The Blower’s Daughter. Thomas And The Good Book has a lovely melody that’s befitting of the songwriting talents of William Fitzsimmons and Playing Cards could sit quite happily on Bright Eyes’ 2005 record I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning.
Though there is much to admire in the extremely well crafted Gone For Ten Fingers, the sense remains that something is lacking. It feels that Hey, Sleeper is an artist you discover by virtue of another, rather than one who grabs your attention by his own volition. Perhaps Roberts just needs to be a little more certain of his own voice.
Some things don’t change though, Arcade Fire are still making great records, The Rolling Stones are still touring and Bono is still, well, Bono! It seems too that that Damien Rice is in fact still making music, just in a different guise.
Verdict: Finely crafted indie-folk