SLEAVE – Don’t Expect Anything

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/label URL: http://engineerrecords.com
Released: 2019
Buy Album: https://sleaverva.bandcamp.com/album/dont-expect-anything
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/sleaveofficial/

Band Line-up:

Charlie Bowen – Guitars and Vocals
Julien Robert – Drums and Vocals
Samuel McClelland – Bass
Daniel Salinas – Vocals

Tracklisting:

1. All this time
2. Cataracts
3. Swept
4. Engine
5. Homebound
6. Check Myself
7. Funeral
8. Better abettor
9. Charlton
10. Drinkin’
11. Sam’s song
12. Expect the world

Review:

Sleave are an indie rock band from Richmond, Virginia, who began in 2015 after a series of jam sessions. In 2016, they would be fully formed. In the same year, they released their ‘Gold’ EP and the Now/Empty Talk 7″ followed a year later. With a new line-up, they released their debut full-length album ‘Don’t Expect Anything’ on October 22nd 2019, through UK label Engineer Records. It was recorded with the help of Pedro Aida of Audio Verite Studios and Andreas Magnusson. The group fuse elements of alternative rock, punk, American hardcore and the American grunge and emo of the 90s. 

Perhaps the most striking feature of this music, is its relentless ability to have youthful ’feel good’ vibes, without ever becoming at all boring. There is some depth to the album too, as darker harmonies and melodies are utilised on occasion, but rather than them spoiling the mood, they add colour and interest. In comparison, a positive major key can use ‘sad’ minor chords, without sounding at all gloomy. Whilst all the choruses are perfectly reasonable, they are perhaps not so catchy and anthemic and good for singing along to in huge crowds. Rather, the tunes are often a tiny bit notey and more difficult to perform but are still great for everyday partying to. That’s a bit of a nitpick. 

The musicianship is pretty straightforward from start to finish, but that doesn’t matter at all. Who’s ever heard of an indie band with polymeters and shred guitar solos? Having said that, it would be nice if Sleave stood out from the crowd a little more. Lack of innovation is probably the album’s biggest weakness. Their sound is a bit harder and more rock than many of their contemporaries such as The Vaccines and The Zutons, but it’s far from heavy in a more traditional sense. It’s about the ‘same level’ as Arctic Monkeys. Some more exaggerated genre fusing would be great. 

In conclusion, this music is more or less perfect for people in their teens or early twenties who are looking for something fun. Is it good for jaded 30 year olds? Maybe not. If anything it will be depressing for such people. Where did all the good times go?? A strong sense of nostalgia will likely be created for the older audiences, but some people may want to move on with their lives. Who knows? The chord progressions have far more to them than mere major and minor chords, expect lots of tasteful dissonances, so if you want to use that as excuse to listen to youthful music, that would work.

Review by Simon Wiedemann
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