‘Elevated mood music with a dark underbelly’ is a good way to describe Sleep Thieves’ debut LP. Defined in other quarters as ‘noir disco’, You Want The Night has more than a slight hint of retro thriller soundtrack to it (Cliff Martinez’s Drive composition for one) with a distinct correlation to a number of contemporary electronica bands. Utlising a familiar blending of synth and bass with a synthesised female lead vocal, the trio succeed in creating an eerie, yet captivating atmosphere throughout the record, a trait they find difficult to shake as the album progresses.
Foreboding, slow bass-led tracks like the opener ‘City of Hearts’ and the title track set the record’s distinctly morose tone, augmented by some intriguingly dark moments on tracks like ‘Through a Sea’, ‘Oceans’ and the haunting ‘French Kiss’ – echoing the work of recent acts like Grimes and Fever Ray. This sombre ambience remains palpable throughout and while the presence of more melodic indie numbers like ‘Sparks’ and ‘High’ – together with a interesting dabbling in World Music rhythms – add an element of infusion, the album grows predictably dour as it plays out.
Despite some strong musical arrangements and alluring melodies, You Want the Night doesn’t really demonstrate that added cutting edge to distinguish itself above a host of bands currently doing the same thing (Chvrches, Purity Ring), and while some of the stronger tracks do indeed suggest a refreshing maturity to the music, Sleep Thieves essentially fall victim to their adherence to a highly ubiquitous genre. Maybe taking a few more chances next would would reap greater rewards.