by / March 26th, 2010 /

Sleep Thieves – Whelan’s, Dublin

You know how it is, it’s a drizzly, dull Wednesday night. You should be at home, you could be catching up with Pineapple Dance Studios seeing if crazy Louis has gotten round to performing the full Flashdance audition complete with leotard but instead you’re here waiting in Whelans. Thankfully tonight it’s an exciting prospect, rather than your usual brown-trouser brigade huddled in a corner making farty Mogwai noises for a pack of chin strokers, tonight sees Whelans play host to a band that are alive, that are brimming with ideas and musical curiosity. Sleep Thieves are not afraid to stare their audience in the face and demand that they dance and with music this melodic it would be rude not to reply with your feet.

There’s something different about Sleep Thieves tonight, from the moment they jump onto the stage and slam headlong into the introductory crunch of ‘Shotgun’ it’s clear that some colossal muscle has grown on those bones. They still manage to hold you captivated with their dreamy, gentle melodies but this is now matched with an altogether heavier, denser sound sadly missing from their ‘ It Was Only A Satellite’ EP. This is Au Revoir Simone on steroids arm-wrestling with sad eyed Japanese school-girls. It’s the dazzling sound of the night, of neon lights crushing underfoot, of racing cars through slick city streets.

Every song pushes further than the last, new tracks buzz like ‘Disappear Here’ which builds on a cacophony of crashing chords and far away vocals, like a sonic war between Korg and Moog reminiscent of those ear-drum troublers Health. Even the familiar tracks seem to have undergone a Terminator style transformation, favourites such as the hypnotic ‘Make Your Move’ retain their irresistible hip-shaking bass line but it now seems to crackle with a new found ferocity, it’s the sweetest of kisses followed by the bloodiest of punches. ‘Osumi’ follows with its extra added Glass Candy meets Ladytron style breakdown with the lyrics about near death and free falling through the night sky taking on a darker more sinister edge. Harder, fitter, faster, stronger, this new improved version of Sleep Thieves have the potential to make 2010 the year they become the sound of the crowd.

As the night moves on and the audience become a little less self conscious and begin to throw a few ambitious albeit giggly shapes and the quicksilver magic of ‘Magnetic Heart’ booms through the air you realise that this is music worth pounding the dismal Dublin pavements for,it’s the glitter to be found in your own back yard. Sleep Thieves have managed to shift the scenery, to offer some commonplace joy of a wet Wednesday evening and for that we are truly thankful.

  • Dan Breen


  • The Purple Chicken

    ”Thankfully tonight it’s an exciting prospect, rather than your usual brown-trouser brigade huddled in a corner making farty Mogwai noises for a pack of chin strokers”

    Brown trousers? Farty Mogwai noises? What exactly is a ‘farty Mogwai noise’? I’m all for taking a band down a peg or two now and again but if you’re going to slag them off then be more accurate and a little more imaginative in your slagging, otherwise you just sound silly.

  • Wish I could have been down there, though Wallis Bird was very good, too. Just curious, Jenn, how full was it? In the interview I did with them the band made a few references to being nervous about how many tickets sold… I hope for their sake they sold a good few. They’re a genuinely interesting and very promising act.

  • For a Wednesday night gig there was a great crowd of about 100, maybe a little more!

  • ciara

    Beautifully written review, loved the descriptions.