Music Reviews
Home Recordings 2007 CD
Home recordings? Wonder what their home looks like! They're not the most productive pro-active band out there, always worth waiting for the day when a crumb or two will eventually fall through their table cracks and in to your life though. Never conventional, never easy to fit them in to any nice convenient pigeonhole and tick the boxes, not a band you can file away neatly and understand easily. The Furious Sleep require just a little more time and effort from their listeners – the effort is always rewarded, they are not your average band, three or four plays to familiarise yourself with the textures and they'll have you hooked. We like The Furious Sleep! These new recordings are excellent actually "a bunch of home recordings we did for ourselves but we're rather pleased with the results so we're sending them out to a few people". They're from Cambridge, they're always a little raw and rather out there on the edges. Raw yet mellow, nothing too heavy of confrontational - doing things their own sweet way, not really sure if that rawness is intentional or a result of shoestring budget restrictions? The collaged artwork and handmade package hints that this maybe as much by choice and design as something brought about by budget limitation. Step in to the limelight, the watch is ticking. Four substantial challenging tracks, four home made lo-fi DIY tracks – perfectly recorded. No regard for any rules, save for the rules of real creativity and positive artistic challenge. Progressive in the realest sense of the overused term. Both progressive and rather proggy, fragile, very English sounding – not eccentrically so (okay, maybe a little eccentric), something just a little strange going on in the English woodshed? Four tracks this time, four epics, and off-edge yelling and piano and acoustic prog-rock laced with dramatic, sometimes frantic folky punky twists and turns (and fossils and bones). The Furious Sleep don't obviously sound like any other band you've ever heard – real prog, raw progressive English punk rock made with passion and real creative rule-defying, rule-creating lo-fi imagination and spirit. A rather special band."
Organ Magazine.
Funeral Marches CD
"THE FURIOUS SLEEP have a new self released four track EP called Funeral Marches, The Furious Sleep are from Cambridge. The Furious Sleep don't do much verse chorus blah de blah, and that's a very good thing. Their songs ramble, tell stories, go somewhere, show you the details. Very few bands are as generous with their ideas. This is stripped down, simple in-your-room guitars and drums and a little keyboards and a natural, honest, on the edge of raw voice. Death's Head March has so many thematic changes I lost count; therefore it is progressive rock, but none of the prog idioms of production apply here, whether old-school moog n' mellotron lushness, jazzy englishness or the avant and heavy approaches. Nope, The Furious Sleep are on the verge of uniqueness, having more in common with obscure UK bands like Zag And The Coloured Beads, Gawd's Bleeding Gift than anyone else, (save maybe Les Savy Fav): a combination of slightly abrasive English indie-ness and untampered-with production with thoughtful complexity. It's not really metal, or punk, it's something on its own, proper art rock (rather than the pub rock that seems to be determined to appropriate the term these days) and the complexity is all about changing melody and mood than math for math's sake. Powerful though, and held together by a gut-spilling emotional (without descending into emo mush) singer songwriter, lyrics to chew over at leisure. Their previous album was less raw, fuller-sounding; unavailable in shops, both are worth the romance of hunting down."
Organ Magazine.
Fabulous band name and an even better E.P title. Trying to describe the sound in itself is slightly more complicated. Like a quieter Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster but with Biffy Clyro weird clinky clonky guitars but then again not at the same time. It's a bit of shocker. They're the sort of band I'd love to sit with during one of their practices just to see what kind of thought process they go through. Myself, I'm fairly bland when it comes to trying to write something and I'd give my right bollock to be able to approach a song in the way this band seems to. It's not going to be to everyone's taste and thank fuck for that. The first track 'Death's Head March' travels in a way very much akin to how I imagine a cold turkey nightmare must do and given that it's far too expensive for me to start a heroin habit, I'm thankful for bands like this who give my imagination all the stimulation it needs. It has somewhat bittersweet yet violent side to it, typified by 'Lights Out' but also a melancholic sensitivity which is show to us briefly on the untitled third track and then leading into the starkly titled song 'The Room'. Generally, this record is the sound of boredom mixed with an unhealthy obsession with comedy funerals or indeed, a serious funeral where someone has spraypainted 'massive cock otter' on the side of the coffin. The fun thing to do of course is imagine someone's funeral soundtracked by this record and given that I generally find funerals somewhat amusing anyway, this would have me sent directly to hell. I'd keep an eye on this band. They'd no doubt be a John Peel favourite if the crazy bastard was still around to appreciate them. The cover art is pretty impressive as well. Always a bonus."
Richey Peaches for Repeat Fanzine.
"Cambridge four-piece, The Furious Sleep, are not like anything you will have heard of before. The punk/prog band’s latest effort is an unique attempt to try and take on the over-produce and populist pop music culture in Britain at the moment. Funeral Marches is the product of a band that don’t really fit in anywhere, they’re like the weird person at the party who talks to the plants. Open minds are a must to fully appreciate The Furious Sleep’s quirkiness, this is not verse-chorus-verse album, it’s veritable trip into the subconscious."
Robb Langston for Music Zine.
"The Furious Sleep - Funeral Marches (EP)
I've reviewed this lot before, and I still think of Fugazi everytime that I hear them. The Furious Sleep are unpredictable in their song-writing and a lot of what they do seems to start and stop without warning - I can hear a hint of Crass, towards the end of their career. I love Jake's lyrics, as always which come across as heartfelt poetry - He is at his best on this EP. This band are not easy to review, as there is so much going on. Comparisons are hard to find, which is a compliment to them."
Positive Creed Fanzine.
17a Charnley Ave, St Thomas, Exeter, Devon, EX4 1RD (50p + 50p SAE)
"The artwork for this curious 4 track EP is amazing, and musically we have something that harks back to the glory days of emo in the mid 90's, very much English sounding and quite raw, reminding me of Nub, Baby Harp Seal, Mineral and the quirk of Joeyfat. Light on the amount of notes used and quite sparce sounding at times, and then jerky, sharp and angular sounding at others with a mostly raucous vocal speech over the top. This is pretty good, and 'The room' shows The Furious Sleep in a quieter, Mercury Rev-esque light, only I don't think they expand enough on the atmosphere and could have layered up tons of ambience and swirling noises to increase the drama of the song. Still, decent stuff, but the artwork is the highlight of the cd."
Paul Raw Nerve.
"I have this lot pinned down as Fugazi wannabes from the slashing guitars, rat-a-tat drums and speak-y/shout-y vocals that comprise multi-sectioned opener “Death’s Head March”. “Lights Out” is more of the same…hmm, the vocals are rather grating. Ok, so we all know Ian McKaye can’t sing for shit but there’s no need to ape your idols so slavishly. And yet…there’s a brief acoustic interlude, followed by piano and electric guitar buzzing in the background. Ok, the singer actually can’t sing for real, and the lyrics are so obtuse as to be irrelevant, but the pained and strained voice kind of works. I like this side of them the best."
Will Columbine, Tasty Fanzine.
"I'll also mention The Furious Sleep, as they were goodly enough to send me their Funeral Marches CD. These guys make a sound that borrows from the more avant garde Dischord stuff, with angular guitars and a screamed/sung vocal assault. But overall its far too clever clever and self indulgent for me. If you think the idea of a prog rock emo jazz band is a good idea, then you should check these guys out - and you should also promise to never, ever, make me a compilation tape. Ever."
Chris of The Marlings.
WASP Album
"Highly unpredictable and origional, this has a hint of Fugazi and folk about it. Tough to nail down, in the same way that Spizzenergy were. This is not your everyday album! The stand out feature is singer, Jake Dyer, good to hear he took his powerfuk larynx with him when Absolute Zeros decided to hang up their Doc Martens! Pretty damn good on the whole."
Positive Creed Fanzine.
17a Charnley Ave, St Thomas, Exeter, Devon, EX4 1RD (50p + A5 SAE)
"They used to be The Visit and they made a couple of demos and we liked them we saw them live and they rocked hard and we interviewed them and then they became The Furious Sleep and they made a couple of demos and we liked them too and we asked them play live for us and they did and they were great again. And then they went and made an album and they sensibly decided to keep it to seven tracks and around 40 minutes and we like it on CD but, to be honest, we wish it was on vinyl and on 70s Elektra with a psychedelically foggy photo of the band in big flares and tight shirts with cravats on the cover and we'd just bought it in a charity shop and it had dog-eared corners and ring-wear but the record itself was pristine and we were playing it for the first time and it was blowing us away. And if we can't have that then we'll just have to dream while the CD plays."
Robots and Electronic Brains.
"The Furious Sleep - A rather different set of very English twists and turns (from Cambridge). Clever acoustic/scratchy electric jousting and shouting and try if you will to imagine a shouty (but not too shouty) angry (but not too angry) Friends In Battledress. Songs that twists and turns and rushes along with a furious sense of belong and a need to tear the shirt from your shoulders. Rather fine artwork as well, rather inspiring. The Furious Sleep sound like no one else – kind of scratchy acoustic prog rock that dashes in to completely different playing fields. They should probably opening for Cardiacs, they’d fit well and the pond would froth. We like this lots."
Organ Magazine.
"The Furious Sleep are very British. An unusual little musical island amidst the near-Americanised rest of the world, completely giving the finger to punk-rock convention through their general favour of acoustic guitars and taking changing time signatures to a ridiculous level, they have emerged with a collection of songs so steeped in originality that, at first, it had me wanting to break something immediately. Namely the CD. Usually not a fan of something too utterly over-complicated for me to understand and, more importantly, so undanceable, I did, however, resist the temptation, thankfully to discover the gems on this debut album. "Quilty" displays the band at what they do best, fighting between good and evil and wrestling with their consciences by swerving from angelic vocals and melodic bliss to all-out screaming chaos in the well-calculated strum of a chord. Alongside other stand-out tracks, the tangled mess of "Warmer Climes" and the epic favourite "Tofu Escape Clause", whilst this is more like a clever and intricate piece of theatre than a catchy toe-tapping masterpiece, The Furious Sleep are, regardless, to be admired as they take this small step for Cambridge musicians, and a large step for indie-fans everywhere. Take from it what you will, but you will take something."
Anna Claxton for REPEAT fanzine.
"To say that prog upstarts The Furious Sleep’s eponymous debut long-player is awash with invention is somewhat misleading. To those that have never heard a record crafted before 1975, this will sound like the future. To those that fondly recall prog’s heyday, it’ll resonate like an echo from a time forgotten by all but Word magazine, whose feature on Yes t’other month was one of the best articles I’ve read of late. It also, conveniently, put me in the right frame of mind for this.

By contemporary standards, ‘The Furious Sleep’ is blissfully unconventional. Songs possess no rigid structures; there are no adhered-to rules here (if there were, one feels that the band would break them come each song’s climax). The approach makes for a playful, if not totally coherent record (certain songs meander for rather too long) that bridges the punk-prog divide fairly successfully – the way that vocals switch mid-song from crystal-clear tones to gruff, almost Hot Water Music-like roars adds to the spirit of adventure contained herein. It’s admirable that a new band is looking backwards – further back than predictable Ramones-style garage punk – to move forward, and The Furious Sleep should be able to look forward to relative success in the not-too-distant future. After all, to some they’re already soundtracking it."
Drowned in Sound webzine.
"Of Kith and Kin" starts off with some great acoustic chord progressions, and an odd vocal, quite possibly prog-rock influenced, and suddenly goes off into a very different, theatrical, almost operatic in delivery style piece. No drums, just bass, guitars and strange voices, coming out from all angles. Quite dramatic though, and with the aide of a very crisp production and some lovely notation, this is a very interesting and very different sort of song. Following this is "The Mallard", which introduces minimal rhythms, and reminds me of a mix between The Cure, Weezer and various era Pavement. "Quilty" continues the strangeness, throwing in some very off kilter rhythms, for those who know Joeyfat, Nub and Tribute, you may get an inkling into the sound of this one. Of the remaining songs, "Among the Wolves" is the one that really stands out, following on from the footsteps left in random shapes in the snow by "Quilty", this one also has a very early 90's emo rock feel to it, with a certain air of Fugazi thrown in for good measure. More good acoustics and light rhythms close things during "Tofu Escape Clause". A very peculiar recording here, but intriguing in the same breath."
Raw Nerve fanzine.
"Acoustic guitars, indie band vocals and occasional jams and screaming. It’s a great combination and a truly original band waiting to happen with some tweaking. Cambridge hopefuls The Furious Sleep’s debut is constantly fascinating but sometimes fidgety and difficult to love. Bad memories of the weaker tracks, however, are abolished as soon as a punk-tinged classic like Quilty or the fine closer Tofu Escape Clause comes along. Here, all of The Furious Sleep’s great ideas come together with the welcome addition of a memorable melody and a driving rhythm. Acoustic Marr-esque guitar glides effortlessly into Fugazi wails and suddenly they become special.

This 7-track sampler shows plenty of promise, it’s just scattered slightly. With age, the formula will be perfected, the songs will become less forgettable and The Furious Sleep will burst onto the radar. On the strength of this debut’s best songs, that might happen sooner than you think".
God is in the TV fanzine.
"I’m always slightly concerned when a band that gives such a full on all-or-nothing live performance decides to transfer their unique talent to CD, and get music techies to fiddle around with their natural sound. Too much tweaking, more bass here, less guitar there often seems to strip away the energy and genuinity of music. And The Furious Sleep definitely isn’t a band whose intention is to provide a fully polished, chord-perfect performance. In fact, fuck preciseness, it’s all about passion with these guys. Having said that, their new album gives all this and more. It’s not been over-refined and the meaning of what they want to get across, the reason they make music is very apparent. They are one of those rare bands I feel who aren’t afraid to make the kind of music they want to make for fear of being judged or conforming to more traditional stuff. Their sound resembles an intere sting and diverse blend of up-tempo, down-tempo, calm, angry, crazy thrashing guitars and keyboard (okay, so I’m no music critic but this is the best way to describe them). And then there’s lots of shouting with tuneful intermissions, letting us know they can be tranquil and controlled when necessary. Quilty has to be one of my favorites mainly cause I think a healthy dose of heavy rocking guitars has something to offer to every good song. And the mighty Tofu Escape Clause should be a classic by now, you’ll be humming it for days!! Cambridge’s band scene is undisputedly a better place for their efforts and this is a must-have album to add to your collection".
Alternataion Music.
PSB#4 "what do you get? twenty-three tracks of varying quality, but none that ever dip below average; for the money you can't do better. highlights are staggered, admittedly but oxford collapse's opening for buds, not boston is a prickly alt-punk number that clatters and crashes as if it'd emerged from the Load Records stable; the furious sleep reinvent prog for the post-punk generation; and the excellently named School for the dead offer bittersweet pop that's catchier than stds on university campus. certain tracks do pass by without making the merest impression, but the great thing about this series is, whatever your particular tastes, there's always something a few minutes ahead that's going to impress you. Roll on episode five."
Comes With A Smile #16.
"The hackneyed cliché that you only get twenty seconds (if that) to impress is true, and more than one demo has gone straight into the round filing cabinet in the corner after less than ten seconds. Being as raw and rough as they are, you’d think that Cambridge’s The Furious Sleep would have gone the same way, except there’s something here that nags. Maybe it’s the Syd Barrett-esque flights of acoustic fancy, maybe it’s the lilting melodies, reminiscent of Ooberman had they grown up in Sixties’ Hackney. In truth, I don’t now what it is. Nor can I explain the effect of what sounds more like a good rehearsal tape; I just know that something here works, and I definitely want to hear more".
Logo Magazine.
"This is a three track effort of diverse emo punk pulling together quite a wide range of variation. The slower moments remind me of the The Velvet Underground with the faster parts hinting towards Fugazi. This c.d. works well and maybe doesn't fall easily into the punk rock genre when you hear it. With so many up and coming bands out there today, this lot are certainly heading towards a new area of sound that nobody has yet discovered".
Rob Stone,
Positive Creed Fanzine.
17a Charnley Ave, St Thomas, Exeter, Devon, EX4 1RD (50p + A5 SAE)
"Intact Skylines: This 3 song EP shows what the The Furious Sleep are about: in your face rock and roll with overthrows of punk and noise rock. At times sounding strained and wired (which is a good thing). This contains amp buzz! Yes it goes to 11! With many excellent riffs that Jimmy Page would be proud of and intelligent lyrics too, this EP is a really great introduction to TFS. If you take Led Zeppelin, and add a little more punk, add a little more lo-fi rock/garage and remove Robert Plant, but add a little more Crazy Horse, you might be somewhere near TFS!".
"Serbian Spring: A very rough sounding live sound, reminiscent of many garage recordings from the late 1960s. This is The Furious Sleep at their most raw. Loud guitars and pounding drums bringing a heavy sound not displayed on the previous EP 'Intact Skylines'. If you dig Velvet Underground, MC5 and The Stooges, I am sure you will fine something within this that you will connect with".
Simon Loynes,
Harvest Time.
"Terrible title. Terrible first track. Terribly sorry, fellas.. But then Silence The Poet kicks off. It's a yearning surge of melodic post (yes!) rock (yes!) with a real song threaded deep into its weft. Direct, purposeful, meaningful and over in under 4 minutes. The Furious Sleep can come again."
Jimmy Possession,
Robots and Electronic Brains.
"Very competent left field guitar based noise pop from Cambridge. I particularly liked the guitar playing, which is expressive without being at all wanky. The Furious Sleep are very attention grabbing live. I want more urgency, and more extreme extremes."
Repeat Fanzine.
"Led Zep goes millennial indie", is the best description I can come up with for this Cambridge based band. There is a definite 70's rock thing going on with the guitar and, as expected, both of these EP's showcase some good riffs and memorable lyrics (particularly EP2's "Silence The Poet"). Nothing here is especially catchy, but you find the songs grow on you with each listen. These were the band's first two releases and from the overall standard of the tracks on them, it's not a bad start at all.
Ten Second Warning Fanzine