Review: We Never Learned To Live – The Sleepwalk Transmissions

We’re spoiled for choice when it comes to expansive, exquisite and downright interesting music these days. Hell, we’ve been spoiled for choice when it just comes to straight-up good stuff of late.

As such, another review bringing word of yet another great new album – especially from as reliable a label as Holy Roar – could easily be taken for granted.

When it comes to The Sleepwalk Transmissions, the second album from Brighton’s We Never Learned To Live, that would be a damned shame.

Let’s be clear right away: this album is right up my Sesame.

Lumbering, brooding songs that take the time to explore ideas and build in layer upon layer of good stuff, vocals that switch from aggression to melody with stupendous ease and a massive dose of big hooks? I’ll take that to the bank, thanks.

From the opening drop of ‘Permafrost’ through to the closing notes of ‘Radio Silence’, this album sucks you in and insists you hold its hand all the way through.

What is perhaps most impressive is just how timeless it sounds; this could have come out around the turn of the century, or in the mid 00s or, as it has, right now, and still stand on its own two feet. Its songs soar and its excellent production job gives them their best chance of flying.

If you want an idea of the full scale of We Never Learned To Live’s impressive arsenal, the one-two punch of ‘The Clocks’ and ‘Luma Non Luma’ is the place to start. The former is ethereal, atmospheric and looming, while the latter rides a banging drum beat with some chunky riffs before exploding into a massive chorus.

Tasty. Very tasty indeed.

Even more enjoyable is that this record has a real British feel to it. Not in a Brexit way – more in a, “This little island is pretty fucking great at making good music” way.

There are slabs of Hundred Reasons, The Devil Sold His Soul and Black Peaks here, all blended with some hints of Palm Reader and Funeral For A Friend – needless to say, this is a good thing.

It has heart, it has grit, and, in the current musical climate, it has real scope to flourish.

Whether you want big riffs or big melodies, rage or introspection, intelligent masterpieces or brutal slabs of heaviness, it’s all here.

What’s not to like about that?

The Sleepwalk Transmissions is out now on Holy Roar Records.

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Dave Musson