You could get permanently lost down the rabbit hole of researching Sleep Token. The UK based collective wear masks to keep their individual identities a secret, and any media attempts to discover who they are results in hands gesturing toward the entity referred to as ‘Sleep’. Admirably, the band is passionate about what they’re creating and the inspiration behind it that channels into their music.
What’s also admirable is the band’s sound. Sleep Token’s new song “Jaws” had me hooked from the first listen. It’s not just my ears that are intrigued and positively captivated by this band, with them having played alongside Perturbator, Holding Absence, and Loathe, appearing at The Great Escape and Campden Rocks Festival, performing for Radio 1 Rock Show, and nominated under “Best New Band” category of this year’s Metal Hammer Golden Gods. The band are also scheduled to appear at Download Festival, Leeds Festival, and Reading Festival.
The mythology driving the band is a fog so thick that it’s tough to find your way through. They refer to live shows as ‘rituals’, and that what occurs at those rituals is ‘worship’. The most direct means of accessing Sleep Token is their music, being open to the band’s genre-vague impressiveness and letting that do all of the speaking.
“Jaws”‘s experimental percussive introduction, piano, electronic samples, and warmth of vocals (and subsequent leanings into streaming/rhythmic vocals) at first remind me of what make Californian alternative-electronic band DBMK special. “Jaws” doesn’t remain in the arena of alternative rock though. With a drum build-up, the track flies into a weightier territory where substantial riffs paint the landscape.
We are locked,
Caged and always provoked,
By prey left unattended”
Beautiful in delicate moments of vulnerability and breathtaking in its moments of intensity and complexity, “Jaws” is mesmerising. There’s empathy in what is witnessed of another here, as well as determination to see beyond the surface of who they are (“Show me what wounds you’ve got, and show me love”).
The music video for “Jaws” is artful in its imagery while also tough to remain focused upon. It juxtaposes beauty with ugliness; lace underwear soaked in blood, cockroaches walking through lines of cocaine in a candlelit room, intimacy in floral sheets and murder. It’s a metaphor reflective of the exterior appearances and darker goings on that are referred to lyrically (“show me where the delicate stops”). It may also reflect Sleep Token’s desire to shine some creative light on the reality of darkness and light.
Ultimately I was left impressed by “Jaws”, and also a little emotionally wrung out from the journey (in a good way). The rustic percussion introduction shows no sign of how wide this thing blows out. Watch the music video below. You can also find it on our Spotify playlist HERE.