Deadpan vocals delight on the debut offering from London indie pop project Where We Sleep, which sits somewhere in the realm of indie pop, space rock and a dark psych affair. Led by Beth Rettig, perhaps best known as vocalist for alt-pop trio Blindness, this release consists of five songs. As far as debut offerings go, this one is solid, calculated mastery with confident vocals, exacting guitar and a kind of dazed peace-stoner melancholy to these songs. This is Ace!
The EP features contributions from famed guitarist Debbie Smith (of Curve, Echobelly, SPC ECO and also Blindness) and Ben Pritchard, formerly of The Fall (and currently in Manc Floyd), as well as Axel Ray of United Ghosts (and also The Black Windmill and Cadet A). Smith was also in Blindness and is part of the trio Snowpony with My Bloody Valentine’s Debbie Googe and Moonshake’s Katharine Gifford.
Wading into territory resembling Shirley Manson of Garbage, Curve, PJ Harvey and Lush, Where We Sleep previewed two tracks off this album recently – ‘The Desert’ with Axel Ray on guitar and also ‘Into The Light’ with Debbie Smith on guitar.
Top tracks on this EP include ‘The Desert, Into The Light’ and ‘Control’, but the whole release is a worthy listen. Dark and rough around the edges, ‘Experiments in The Dark’ combines synth and live elements. It was recorded in studios between London and Manchester. This follows up Where We Sleep’s single ‘The First One’, released in August 2018, preceded by their debut single ‘Veins’ in June 2018, also featuring Debbie Smith, and b-side ‘Crawl’, mixed in Addis Ababa by Guy Fixsen.
“When Blindness ended – solely down to a change in my personal life – I didn’t know if I was going to write again. Where We Sleep is the result of discovering that you don’t know how not to make music,” says Beth Rettig.
“Into The Light was inspired by a lot of voices that have shone through the dark for me in the last couple of years and I hope that it can play a small part in paying that forward. I could have gotten very carried away weaving Debbie’s filthy guitars around the bassline in this track. She always gives me loads of material to play with which sends me down a rabbit hole of chopping, reversing, time-stretching and adding effects”.
Raised in Africa (Nigeria, Botswana and South Africa) and saying goodbye to the days of her Johannesburg band High, Beth Rettig returned to the UK in 2000 and eventually hooked up with Debbie Smith to form Blindness. They had a good run until playing their final gig in 2016, followed by ‘The Monsoon EP’ in 2007, their final release.
Rettig’s music is rooted in an array of influences, including Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Curve, EMA, Nine Inch Nails, Jesus and Mary Chain, Garbage, Kate Bush, Massive Attack, Patti Smith, PJ Harvey, Pete International Airport, White Rose Movement and The Fall.
As of May 31, ‘Experiments In The Dark’ will be available across digital stores and streaming platforms. It can also be ordered via Where We Sleep’s own Bandcamp at https://wherewesleep.bandcamp.com/album/experiments-in-the-dark-ep.
Music and performance by Where We Sleep
Lyrics by Beth Rettig
Beth Rettig – vocals and instruments
Debbie Smith – guitars on ‘Into The Light’
Ben Pritchard – lead guitars on ‘Control’
Axel Ray – lead guitars on ‘The Desert’
Mixing and Mastering by John Cranmer
Video by Beth Rettig and Axel Ray
1. What I Deserve
2. The Desert
4. Into The Light
5. Experiments In The Dark