LIFE IS Just A Ride claim Sheffield band Don’t Sleep Dream. And they want you to join them on it with the release of their debut EP.
The four members had bumped into each other over the years as stalwarts of the local scene before getting together and finally settling down to this line-up a couple of years ago.
Mark Johnson sings and strums guitar, Michael Randle brings more guitar, Jon Willis bass, and Richard Harris provides drums.
Main songwriter Mark learned his chops in the Bollweevils and later Bolster, the latter group in its final days also featuring Richard on drums, although he had previously provided guitar and singing for Less Than Zero and Little Miss Machete. Michael, meanwhile, was in Lilac Confusion while the final addition to the band was Jon, whose previous experience started off a long time ago with Bedlam Choir, taking in Freekspert, who later became Sukmunki. He also currently appears with the very entertaining Das Chip Shop.
With a name adapted from an REM song you can perhaps see where some of their influences come from – although apparently Michael can’t stand them and it’s true there is a distinct tone of Americana about their material.
However, especially on supremely catchy lead track Letter – already recipient of some 6Music airplay – it leans more towards Husker Du and Sugar than the more soporific sounds of Stipey’s mob.
There’s nothing mouldy about this, though, as there is plenty of raw energy there and even when they slow things down a bit for the emotional epic final track there are some nice noisy guitars towards the end.
Without wanting to reveal too much, Mark says there is a common theme running through his lyrics, which are about “a particular relationship”. He adds: “I guess you could say the five songs on the EP are like the chapters of a love story although, as in many books, the story is non-linear.”
You can find out more by going into dontsleepdream.bandcamp.com and downloading it for £3.50, although if you’re willing to shell out another £1.50 you can also get the limited edition 12-inch vinyl, complete with a set of lyric cards featuring nifty accompanying artwork by Mark. The download also comes with this package.
For a taster they’re headlining a show in aid of two autism/Asperger’s charities tonight. The West Street Live gig is free entry but organisers will be collecting donations and running a raffle. Firesuite, LINEUP2 and John Swain also play.