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WHEN YOU SLEEP
:: Lyca Sleep ::
23 November 2004 / The Blue Cat Cafe, Stockport / Manchester
By Cath Aubergine

There's a single, sustained drone, a full minute maybe, before a muted, almost dub bassline slides in exactly when it should. Drums, then an explosion of beautiful distortion. Only the greatest of guitar bands know intuitively just how long to hold a sound. Kevin Shields knew it. Lycasleep know it too. This is people making music for the right reasons. Not to get rich quick, or because they think it will make them look cool, but because they believe in their music and are passionate about playing it. Lycasleep have spent months familiarising themselves with Britain's motorway system and no-horse towns, night after night, a work rate which initially seems at odds with their days-lost-in-a-haze-of-spliff-smoke sound. Tonight, Heaton Moor, and they’re late onstage because of the venue’s decision to show the United match. The speakers are playing up a bit. There’s been little publicity for this rescheduled gig and it’s not exactly full, but they’re playing as if their lives depend on it. Intense. The opening track, “To The Sea”, sets the scene. When the second chord hits, minutes in, it blasts up another level. Dan’s thrashing his tambourine against himself, lost in the moment. They play five songs, each one epic, rising from quiet traces of Verve guitar to crashing, ear-splitting finishes with the singer thrashing a tambourine against his body, guitarist and bassist bent low over their instruments, drummer battering the kit into the middle of next week. Debut single “Sold Me A Ride” takes this to extremes: its open spaces making way for great crashing waves where you’re sure there must be another five guitarists hidden just off set. The final track “Forever” builds up from nothing and peaks again and again, first a My Bloody Valentine assault on the senses then a powerful Spacemen 3 ending, by which the small crowd are as absorbed as the band, and by the time the lights finally come on it’s been a headrush of a ride.


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