Looking at the paths that Sleep Talk have taken, it’s hardly surprising they’ve ended up where they are now. Their Growing Pains EP garnered a fair amount of praise as a melodic hardcore release that offered a bit more than the slew of metalcore facsimiles their native Australia tends to produce, but support slots with acts like Citizen and Turnover hinted at a band well aware of how restrictive their local scene can be for bands like them. Expanding and exploring feels like the most effective way of moving forward, and that feels like the mantra that debut full-length Everything In Colour has grounded itself in with its embrace of emo and grunge that has more flexibility in its approach. Of course, that’s all dependent on whether Sleep Talk can pull it all together; there’s an ambitiousness that underscores this album, and for some, a similar approach in the past hasn’t paid off.
Thankfully that’s not the case here, as Everything In Colour stands as a greatly concise fusion of emo, grunge and hardcore that, crucially, hits the intersection between each almost consistently to have a truly profound impact. This is definitely a creative work, but one where each element’s familiarity feels like a selling point rather than a stumbling block, as they’re twisted and arranged in ways that don’t necessarily push the boundaries of each, but arrive at an intriguing synthesis that hasn’t really been explored too deeply up to now. That’s not to oversell this album by any means, especially when it does feel like Sleep Talk could afford to go a bit deeper with what they’re doing, but as far as retooling and reforging a path that’s distinctively their own goes, Everything In Colour feels like a suitably bold step that pays off.
It’s not like any grand measures have been taken here either; overall, this is a case of rather simple yet robust execution that just happens to connect really well in almost every way. There are definitely instances where Sleep Talk can stumble, like on the messiness of the title track which doesn’t lock everything together as tightly, but it feels as though the general framework is laid down good and early with Lauritzen, as snarling grunge guitars peel out with equal degrees of fire and melancholy, while Jacob Clement’s vocals – arguably made all the more barbed and empowered by what they’re paired with – serve as the profound emotional nexus. It’s all about that visceral sense of emotion as well; it’s reflected somewhat in the writing, but the deliberate choice to made these tracks vague and up for interpretation can make it feel as though Sleep Talk are holding back from really reaching the peak of their powers. Apart from that though, Everything In Colour makes strong use of its power and resonance, especially in a tone that really captures the weight and oppression they explore, like in the crushing, deliberate hardcore of Slowfade or the bounding but downbeat alt-rock of New Tradition. As a cathartic expulsion existing on a surface level, Everything In Colour is pretty hard to fault, and even without an increased depth or individuality that would’ve made it fly even higher, there’s enough force here to yield that power regardless.
And when viewed in a wider context, especially considering how shallow projects adhering to a similar vision can often come across, Sleep Talk may have taken something of a leap of faith but have ultimately stuck the landing. Everything In Colour mightn’t be the dense, winding opus it potentially could’ve been, but it channels that feeling into something much more direct and raw, and that generally pays off here. There’s enough good ideas and instrumental inspiration to make it feel as though Sleep Talk are doing something new within genres that desperately need it, and if they can find a way to cultivate that into something even more powerful, they’re going to be sticking around for a long time.
For fans of: Citizen, Turnover, Defeater
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Everything In Colour’ by Sleep Talk is released on 3rd May on UNFD.