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Review: Hattie Cooke – The Sleepers
Hattie Cooke is a Brighton (Sussex) based musician. Her debut release for Spun Out Of Control (a London label specializing in synth & synthwave electronica) is a perfect meeting of minds.
The Sleepers is an imagined soundtrack or fake score. Based on a story of debilitating narcolepsy. People are falling asleep and never waking up. While a sinister cult “The Sect” are sacrificing the doomed Sleepers. Maude, Hattie’s heroine, must infiltrate The Sect to save her son.
Horror synth works best when it follows a story arc and the twelve songs on The Sleepers flows as if they were story boarded. There is a real 70s/ 80s B movie vibe and The Sleepers plays out like a score from that classic period. Although The Sleepers has a passing nod to that era, there is many more layers to Hattie’s compositions.
The album Opener “Lies” sets the mood and it’s a broodingly menacing, ambient soundscape.
“Evacuation” Bounces, urgently.
“Run” Haunts over a simple repeated hook & layers of pads.
“Red Silk” Throbs, fantastically. Trouble is brewing.
“Chamber” is awash with a woozy, phased voice like effect.
“Safe Arms” conjures an image of children’s comfort blanket. The son is safe, for now!
“Ladders” builds gently until a deep throbbing bass anchors the melody.
“Riot” builds the tension around a phased note, rising and falling.
“Emerging” contrasts deep bass tones and a light hook.
“Something Watching You” plays around a wonderfully simple two note hook.
“Survival” uses soft pads and synths that rise rather than fall. You know they’ve nearly escaped.
“Main Theme” by contrast, is almost an 80s synth pop song. Rounds the album off in a warm, they
survived to tell the tale, way.
If you enjoy electronica and synth music with a darker edge or, if you are keen on soundtracks and in particular, horror scores, then The Sleepers does give you an interesting listening experience. It ticks a lot of the genres right boxes. You get a range of dark ambient songs, right up to pulsing rhythms. Some of the hooks are simple, but surprisingly catchy. There’s definitely a story being told and I don’t know if it’s the way the album has been mixed, but listening, on headphones, in the wee hours, works well for me. Of course you better not fall asleep. After all you don’t want to be The Sect’s next sacrifice.

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