Danish music is having a bit of resurgence in recent times since the Music Export Denmark (MDX) initiative was launched over eight years ago, with artists such as Oh Land, Mew, Efterklang and The Raveonettes taking full advantage of this wonderful scheme, which promotes the exportation of popular Danish music by way of offering financial support for worldwide tours amongst other crucial development secrets. So it may come as a bit of a shock to find that Denmark’s Sleep Party People bypassed the MDX entirely.
Sleep Party People is the creation of the warped mind of multi-instrumentalist Brian Batz. Influences are drawn from the equally beguiling David Lynch and Boards Of Canada. Having unconsciously given birth to his eerily spectral sound when finding a debilitated piano in his apartment and harnessing its souynd alongside his trademark phased vocals, it unwittingly landed Batz among murky waters along with the witch-house brigade of 2010, alongside Salem and oOoOO.
But since 2010’s self-titled debut album dropped, much has changed in Secret Party People’s camp. Four new band members, like Batz also kitted out in rabbit masks, have been brought into the fold to help galvanize the live set into a more dynamic beast and push their affected dream-pop to new heights. Tours with fellow Dane and avant-garde electronic explorer Trentmøller, Efterklang and The Antlers resulted in the video for standout debut album track I’m Not Human At All garnering over 350,000 views. It’s fair to say that big things are expected for the highly anticipated follow up We Were Drifting On A Sad Song.
A delicate melancholic piano melody draws us into lead track A Dark God Heart, although it doesn’t take long before the atypical haunted vocals swoop in to add a slight discomfort to nursery rhyme-esque rhythmical patterns and expressive strings. It’s an emotionally woozy number that smashes into life with ferocious intensity amidst thundering cymbals recalling Funeral-era Arcade Fire with its innate ability to snap from dulcet to audacious with consummate ease.
Recent single Chin recalls a vibe similar to Gary War‘s Please Don’t Die with repetitive processed beats and reverb-heavy chorusing. It’s the most austere track on the album and is naturally impulsive along with Things Will Disappear Like Tears In The Rain; both written in the same simmering style yet refusing to bubble into exhaustive synth-laden dance songs.
With only nine songs on We Were Drifting On A Sad Song there’s little space for filler. Gazing At The Moon and the title track explode with synths primed for a momentous chorus and mass sing-alongs. Well it would, if it wasn’t for the cubist voice of Batz, who confines his vocals to leave a pitch-bent euphoric analogue synth riff in its place.
The keystone to Sleep Party People is that given any moment, each song could mutate and evolve into another depending on Batz’s mood. Whilst there is a vast scope between styles from dreamy-pop to tub-thumping electro, underneath all the clever sounds and expressionism is an organic could-end-anywhere sense of freedom that pulls the listener in every direction, yet maintains its identity throughout. There is a lot to admire about the myriad of uncertainty and unpredictability of We Were Drifting On A Sad Song.