Sleepless and Sunkissed delivers on all fronts.
Western Australia has become a hotbed of seriously-talented bands over the past couple years and none exude more promise than four-piece Death by Denim. Lifting moods with their unique brand of infectious indie-rock/pop, the band have been dropping top-shelf music for the past few years.
With high rotation on triple j and a performance at Falls Festival, the band truly cemented their place in the Aussie indie scene with their immersive EP Year Long Minute last year, packed with engaging melodies and anthemic hooks.
Now, they’ve arrived with their much-anticipated full-length debut, Sleepless and Sunkissed, and it delivers on all fronts.
A result of the melting pot of talent and taste that is Palle Mazzulla, Nikolas Ilidias, George Gunson and Hamish Macarthur, the debut album sees the band create a gold standard snapshot of catchy indie-rock.
Deeply-rooted in stories around their restless search for connection and fulfilment upon entering adulthood, Sleepless and Sunkissed is fuelled with spacey synths, sun-soaked vocals, an ingenious balance of up-tempo beats and brooding melancholia, fuzzy grooves and unrelenting bass.
Packed with shades of light and dark, the band take their signature style to another level. Diving deep into the realms of moody synth-pop and cosmic psychedelia, an array of influences surge and flourish, with heavy nods to the likes of Mildlife and MGMT, and Perth-based compadres Tame Impala, Pond and Methyl Ethyl.
“Being in the Perth scene it’s hard not to be inspired by those artists. We also love modern Brit-rock like Catfish & The Bottlemen and Arctic Monkeys, as well as modern-day R&B/hip hop like Travis Scott and Frank Ocean. We enjoy all sorts of music and love to combine them to try and create something unique,” the band explain of their exploration beyond indie-rock.
“We always want to do things slightly differently every time we head into the studio. We obviously don’t want to defer too much from what our fans expect from us but we never want to rest on previous sounds and we are always trying to push ourselves to be as creative as possible and not do the same stuff over and over again.”
Delivering an 11-strong collection of tracks, the album is at times dark and moody but at all times it is honest, engrossing and inspiring, flexing the band’s impeccable songwriting abilities more than ever.
‘Caged’ takes on the perspective of being trapped in an unhealthy routine of weekly alcohol and substance abuse; chasing the highs of the past due to a lack of personal fulfilment in the present.
‘Show Up’ is all about those drawn-out ends to break ups, where people struggle to cut ties with something they’ve been so close with; and the title track ‘Sleepless and Sunkissed’ is a cinematic ballad about an endless night shared with someone you just met and the fear of losing this connection when you become separated by long distance.
On the lighter side of the album, ‘Homemade’ captures the refreshing feeling of enjoying a sunset with your close ones, while ‘Wiggy’ is all about the sensory escapade your mind indulges in when you take the plunge into an unknown psychedelic world, further highlighting the band’s ability to craft a comprehensive body of work.
“All of our songs are very personal experiences for sure. This album has a wide range of themes like failed relationships, mental health and illness as well as the more lighthearted partying tunes,” they explain.
“I don’t think we would be able to write many tracks that aren’t personal to us. Creating the album was a very collaborative effort. It usually starts with a riff or a main lyric that we say to each other and then we create it into a song about what’s happening in one of our lives. It’s a big open diary to DBD!”
Recorded with Andy Lawson at Debaser Studios earlier this year, the record is a token of the band’s musical growth and maturity, spawned from a time where the music industry was crumbling around them.
“Very weird to say, but COVID was actually one of the main reasons we were able to release an album.
“It originally was going to be an EP that we were going to release in June and we were planning to be touring a whole lot this year, but with everything that went on we found ourselves with a lot of time on our hands so we turned it into a full-length record.”
As one of Perth’s most exciting bands (and one of the most promising acts in Australia), Death by Denim’s debut is an impressive record of deeply-personal tales, all set to sun-drenched, shimmering indie-rock tunes – one that that will sound even better when heard at festivals with a tinnie in hand.
With dreamy soundscapes, dancing melodies, swirling psychedelic riffs, driving beats, fuzzy grooves, and caramel melodic vocal tones, Death by Denim propel themselves onto another level with an astounding and at times heart-warming and heart-breaking insight into the experiences of a band at their peak.
So stick on your headphones, close your eyes and enjoy 40 minutes of Death by Denim’s whimsical world – you won’t want to leave.
Sleepless and Sunkissed is out now. Check it out below.
Like what you hear? Death by Denim are set for a live show at the Northcote Social Club on Friday June 18, 2021. Find out more via their Facebook page.
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