Sleep Over (No 866)

Not had enough of those sleepy, creepy wraithpop trios? These 'alpha femmes' could be the soundtrack to Carrie's breakdown

Hometown: Austin, Texas.

The lineup: Stefanie Franciotti (keyboards, vocals), Sarah Brown (bass, vocals), Christa Palazzolo (guitar, vocals).

The background: There's a still that accompanies the review of Sleep Over's track Outer Limits on music blog Pitchfork – the climactic one from Brian De Palma's film of Carrie, of Sissy Spacek drenched in blood, casting a cold zombie stare over the assembled jocks and vapid prom queens as she brings hell to Bates High School. Well, Sleep Over make the music that Carrie White might have listened to the night before her day of devastation. It's not horrorcore or death metal or anything like that; far from it. Rather, Sleep Over's sound is the sort that might feasibly soothe a homicidally vengeful teenager with supernatural powers of cataclysmically destructive capability after she's been humiliated by her peers.

It's a sound they evidently arrived at fairly quickly, since Sleep Over have been going for less than a year having formed in October 2009 in Austin, Texas. From the first track they wrote, The Key, it was clear they would be all about frazzled harmonics, hazy guitars that resemble synths and vice versa, and vocals so gorgeously ghostly they appear to have come from the other side. The result is too sweet for the "witch house" tag and too wraithlike to be classified alongside the layered sumptuousness of chillwave ... Think Best Coast, if they were just a memory, an aura, an ectoplasmic trace of girl groups past.

Come Wonder is an eerie, ethereal heart-stopper with obvious precedents such as Cocteau Twins or Julee Cruise's Twin Peaks theme, taken to hauntological extremes here. Outer Limits is slightly more earthbound, with its regular heartbeat and almost conventional melody. These are Sleep Over's best, most beautiful tracks, but there are others to recommend for the more audacious: Fog Juice, for example, is two minutes of scratching and droning, and although those by-now trademark phantasmic vocals keep things pretty, it's still unsettlingly – the girls admit they've been listening to Suicide a lot recently, only less Dream Baby Dream than Frankie Teardrop. Your World is Night starts with a chilling rat-a-tat knocking over icy organ chords, as though the Blair witch herself were at the door. Sunspots is an odd title since, according to the trio themselves, the best word to describe what Sleep Over do is "lunar". Their other favourite phrase for themselves is "alpha femmes".

They may be nice Texan girls who have known each other since they were, as they say, "tweenagers", but something happens when they get together: they summon forth a menacing moonlit sound whose terrible beauty has the power to delight and disturb.

The buzz: "What Beach House might sound like if they played in a graveyard" – Pitchfork.

The truth: Come Wonder, like Still Corners' Don't Fall In Love, takes Spectoresque pop into new realms of supernatural synthetic melodrama.

Most likely to: Cheer up and/or calm down a dangerously angry geeky teen girl with psionic abilities.

Least likely to: Look good in gore.

What to buy: No official releases as yet; no label deal – just some laceratingly lovely music to hear online and download.

File next to: Beach House, Still Corners, Pocahaunted, Best Coast.

Links: Find them on MySpace here.

Wednesday's new band: Tensnake.


Paul Lester

The GuardianTramp

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