With the release of their third album in as many years, having played well over 200 shows last year, and having lost a drummer who cited his reason for departure as “fatigue”, it is easy to understand where the sentiment underlying the album title comes from.
Sleep Is The Enemy provides you with 11 tracks of straight-to-the-point, groove-laden rock and roll that is the perfect thing to se us through these temperamental UK spring showers and into the promised heat of summer.
Opener Sticky Situation is the very reassuring sound of Danko Jones still on form after the success of We Sweat Blood. With minimalist kick-ass grooves over simplistic call-and-response guitar and vocal lines, there is the danger of Danko straying into the repetitive and lacklustre. However, for the most part, this is avoided by them layering their tunes with memorable melodies that stick like school porridge.
Despite the introduction sounding far too much like the theme to School Of Rock, Baby Hates Me is an anthem that even Jack Black would shake his curly mop top to. A bitter tale of love gone sour that will embed itself in your skull, Mr Jones spits lyrics with such ferocity that you may want to check your speaker cones to see if his saliva has made it all the way from the studio.
Unfortunately, not all is well. Don’t Fall in Love is far from the best track that the Canadian trio have recorded, with an insanely cheesy chorus line. Meanwhile She’s Drugs takes the lyrical theme down to the ridiculous, as the chorus of, “She’s drugs, she’s drugs, just one look and you get addicted” mixes AC/DC‘s innuendo and, uh, not a lot else.
Subsequent track The Finger has a smashing riff, but simply lacks the standout infection of other tracks on the disc, and one suspects that Mr Jones hasn’t completely thought through the implications of his lyrical suggestions when in When Will I See You Again, he tops any ballads of self-sacrifice with a verse that starts: “I’d burn my house down just for you, I’d cut my nuts off just for you”.
While Sleep Is The Enemy won’t make many album of the year lists, its crisp, punchy production does achieve the feat of capturing just how hot this trio can be live. Check them out – rock and roll does not get more unadulterated than the variety pounded out by these Canadian boys.