The act of doing something that involves danger or risk in order to achieve a final goal.
Its something we all do throughout our lives that’s unavoidable. However, something I love is creative risk taking. This is when you put something you love to the test to push yourself and those around you further; and that brings me to this post…
Now you may have heard of a Midlands (England, UK) based band with a rather unusual name that have previously featured on this blog. I am of course referring to the five piece band Sextapes.
Sextapes’ sound was a mixture of grunge styled heavy/shouty vocals, entwined with melody driven riffs perfectly due to the balance of upbeat “happy yet moody” drums and soft mellow toned bass.
Full of energy, Sextapes performances were always captivating, displaying their passion for music. This made watching them a joy rather than a task and their music more enjoyable.
As you’ve probably guessed from the past tense language and talk of risks, that Sextapes are no more! They now go by the name Half Asleep, which also brings through a new sound. This sound is quite different to that refreshing tinge to the hardcore scene that they brought through as Sextapes, but is equally as refreshing to the Midlands current music scene.
The Midlands is very heavily yet proudly displaying pop punk, punk and hard-core bands at the moment; all of whom show some serious talent!
Half Asleep however, consist of what you would expect from bands breaking through the Midlands scene over the last few years such as Peace and Swim Deep, whilst maintaining individuality by drenching their songs with shoegazey guitars and hypnotic dreamy vocals.
With their first single released, Half Asleep have further proved they have an endless amount of talent to display. By breaking down this new single, it makes understanding their new sound as well as get a real feel for why I truly believe that Relax & Distill was a very clever choice for breaking that Sextapes barrier.
When listening to the vocals it is clear to hear the change that has undergone immediately. The vocalist has transformed his vocals from harsh to a much softer approach which displays different tones compared to previous releases as Sextapes. When speaking with the vocalist about this change of technique he said “I can get much more melody into my words and it feels more natural”, something which is a key for vocalists to feel as strain to vocal chords can be damaging for careers.
Guitars have managed to keep their powerfully catchy riff technique but have now teamed them up with soft distortion and carefully structured “cheery” chords that bring a nice aspect to the music. By having two guitarists and different tunes throughout, there is a more structured and empowering vibe built in rather than just a sense of melody being played throughout.
Drums used in Sextapes were heavy, big and powerful; perfect for that grunge influence they were playing with. However, drums have now been switched up to a combination of fast paced and slow paced dynamic beats that work well against the shoegazey guitars and mellowed vocals. In this new single you can hear the drummers use of cymbals is not overbearing, but that he has incorporated them nicely against the new sound so that that previously edgier aspect is not heard.
Bass is structured and well blended within the song, keeping that basic structure within crisp and clean, whilst also with a touch of off balance enabling you to hear it.
All in all, Relax & Distill is a brilliant song that’s well structured and displays brilliantly that the boys really have thought about their music. This goes on to show how they want to progress, that this is not a hobby, but something they are all passionate about. Showcasing their talents for writing and producing, I can honestly say Half Asleep are some talented guys! I mean pulling off their breath-taking performances is a talent in its own, let alone being able to make tracks that stick in your head for all the right reasons.
Something I really like about the Half Asleep boys is that despite all this change, they are still humble to how they started. There are no bitter feelings towards the origins and being Sextapes, so much so that when it came to releasing their EP it only seemed fitting to incorporate something a little Sextapes with it. As best described by one of the guitarists as “an ode to Sextapes”, they cleverly titled their EP ‘Watching Sextapes whilst Half Asleep‘. Even better, to keep up with this quirky and individuality that they bring, you can purchase their EP on either standard classic CD or a retro cassette tape! Yes, you can purchase ‘Watching Sextapes whilst Half Asleep’ on cassette tape that has been beautiful crafted to keep Half Asleep in your mind (images of both CD and cassette tape can be found below). But honestly, trust me when I say I truly believe you will not be disappointed in this EP, as it features a few songs that were crafted whilst the boys were Sextapes enabling you to hear and feel the growth they have undergone as a band.
Now whilst checking these videos out you can also go over to their official Facebook page and give them a cheeky little like, which will help you keep updated on any exciting news or even check out their merchandise over on their Big Cartel site. Which to be honest, we know you’re going to do all these things because that’s what I’ve done!!
As always, its an absolute pleasure to have you read our blog. It means way more than you can imagine to me! Thank you for reading my thoughts and opinions, best wishes! Leanne xo