Worship Sleep Token. Worship Him.
Sleep Token’s last EP, ‘Two‘, was one of my favourite releases of 2017; a sublime three-track release merging atmospheric indie-pop beauty with melodic prog-metal. It’s like falling asleep listening to Bon Iver but waking up with Periphery playing. Throw in the band’s mysticism of writing music for an old dead deity called Sleep, (their ‘worship); their masks resembling their “faith” (masks of which appear in all music videos and promos); and the anonymity of the members, and you’ve got something incredibly intriguing on your hands in terms of aesthetic and sound.
The group’s latest unearthed “ritual”, ‘Jaws‘, is another massive win for this U.K. group. It nicely continues their effective song-writing formula of starting with minimal and atmospheric instrumentation before expanding into denser, heavier soundscapes. In this case, electronic percussive loops, ambient keys, soft cymbal hits, and gorgeous clean singing begin the piece, as atmos synth pads and rising basses guide the track further along with a crisp, established drum groove leading the charge; all before louder drums and down-tuned guitars swallow you up in powerful breakdowns and striking synths peaking out of the mix.
The song itself and it’s accompanying music video is a cry for intimacy and honesty, but also an understanding of corruption in a relationship. The song’s chorus is telling of this, with the lyrics: “Show me those pretty white jaws/Show me where the delicate stops, show me what you’ve lost/And why you’re always taking it slow/Show me what wounds you’ve got, and show me love“.
Over in the film clip, two half-naked female lovers embrace in bed as blood pools around their bodies – a metaphor for how dangerous and “violent” their love has become, or at least, what it will soon grow to be. This juxtaposition goes further with the revisiting the visual ideas from the ‘Nazareth‘ film clip by showing something “ugly” merged with something “beautiful”; cockroaches eating away at flowers, lacey underwear dragged over a gun, moody candlelight showing cocaine lines, blood moving over their floral sheets, etc. You can also see this in the band’s sonic mixture of light and heavy elements merging together.
Either way, it’s clear that Sleep Token’s newest song/video battle with the idea of sin, whether real or not. This is something that becomes apt when quick flashes of the band’s “calling card” – their masks – start to creep into the video as well; hinting at something dark occurring just beneath the surface.
Sleep Token definitely aren’t about to fully pull back the curtain on their gimmick or on their individual identities, nor have they announced a new EP or new LP just yet either. However, when the music is this fucking good, I don’t think you can complain.