A few months back we listened to the powerful and hard-hitting EP “Roar” by Ukrainian-based electronic alternative rock band, Sleep Keepers, a trio made up of drummer Toshi, guirarist Ilya and singer Talana. While working on their new heavier album set for a Spring release, Sleep Keepers show us the soft underbelly of the beast with the release of their 4 track EP “Hearts Get No Sleep” a Downtempo, piano and vocal dominated exploit.
Have you ever heard such words used to describe an alternative band: eloquent, majestic, beautiful, exquisite, touching, emotional, poignant, epic, delicate…ok, I must stop here because the references to positive transcendence, though absolutely fitting, might give you the idea that this is not a rock band at all. However if there is a band in rock and its sub-genres which perfectly symbolizes the evolutionary certainty of all quality music bending the limits of genre, then Sleep Keepers is it.
Few independent bands have captivated my imagination and love for their music the way this band has, and the contrasts of the albums “Roar” and “Hearts Get No Sleep” is what started it all. The escalating, soft tension of the opener, “sun sets at daybreak / november” explodes into the most sweeping of harmonies.
The melody, so seductive and delicately soothing, epitomizes true airiness as it is compelling in the true nature of its essence. This band surpasses musical genius by honing the exact ebb and flow of extreme human emotions.
Certain sounds release endorphins in the human brain. I believe that Talana’s voice has the quality to do that on a track such as “are you in the game / a hero”. The track is dark, haunting, and euphorically comforting at the same time.
The many shades of mystique convey a perfect balance of light and shadow, as do the lush orchestrations, enveloping, cathedral-like atmospheres, on “a hostage / enough voltage” and Talana’s ever-captivating reverberating vocals, match perfectly with that of the more understated male vocal of Andrew Ivashchenko. Each are stacked upon another to mimic a choir of many, and the effect is hypnotically mesmerizing.
The lyrics are poetic and symbolic and are a mirror maze of mental images. A fascinating factor is that the words seem to make perfect sense until you attempt to understand them and then their meaning escapes your grasp, like a fleeting passing of a moment.
The piano instrumentals which accompany the vocals glide with a calm and growing majesty. They are like emotional paintings in an audial museum, tugging at the listener with a sense of wonder, while pushing the vocal melodies along their given paths.
The voice, the music, everything forms a great package on “Hearts Get No Sleep”, and Talana is someone you can listen to no matter what kind of mood you’re in. Certainly this music is the flipside of the coin for Sleep Keepers but shows their versatility and musical sensibilities. This EP will make a great companion while we wait for the band’s brand new album to arrive!