A regular fixture in the city's live music scene, Hong Kong-based British four-piece The Sleeves – consisting of Keith Goodman, Matt Coleman, Pete Gordon and Stu McCutcheon – ironically set themselves apart – for all intents and purposes – by not claiming to be special. So many bands, home and away, feel the need to align themselves as a value proposition with descriptions that read more like a vertical slice of a Thomas Pynchon novel than anything close to coherently describing what the band actually do.
And so The Sleeves: "alternate rock band... Mix The Kinks, The Sex Pistols, Pil, The Stone Roses, Kasabian and The Faces and you'll be close" – right there on their website's homepage. A refreshingly honest and unpretentious self-appraisal. Their latest album, Deliverance, comes off the back of a six-year wait since The Sleeves' infectiously effective debut, Arcade Rock.
And, like their debut, it much aligns with that description on the homepage. This isn't a criticism, The Sleeves aren't derivative, they have a distinct sound that even reaches beyond some of the inspirations listed on the site (see track three – Broken Keys with some playful, driven melodies from the school of Johnny Marr and Colin Greenwood). Other standouts on the album include I Feel Alive which showcases the albums stellar production by offering an appropriately grandiose sound for the opening percussion before seamlessly opening up into a beautifully harmonious guitar line – it's the stand-out track for us. Other winners on Deliverance include a welcome arpeggiated acoustic intro on track five which breaks things up. (Out On The) Dance Floor [Get What You Ask For] and Freedom Now have been staples of The Sleeves' live sets for a while now and it's to see why – all punchy power chords and big, anthemic choruses and they sound better than ever here.
Deliverance will be played in its entirety this coming Saturday at Rula Bula. The band has helped prop up the live scene here for a long time and that's something worth celebrating. Alongside getting your hands on a stellar sophomore album, it's an event well worth going along to.
Deliverance is available to buy now from cdbaby.com