Sandman Sleeps’ debut album Crisis Actor [independently released on March 26, 2022] is effectively a “best-of” collection, culled from nearly twelve years of songcraft. Originally formed by vocalist/guitarist Cristina Peck and her bassist sister Alex Peck as teens, the two reconvened Sandman Sleeps in 2019 with renewed passion and the band was enhanced even more with the addition of drummer Karsten Andersen and guitarist Zack Jones in early 2020. The twelve years it took to create this debut also played a part in the album’s wide-ranging influences, themes, and sounds, which the band knowingly jokes are a bit “all over the place.” For how expansive their palates are, Sandman Sleeps merge it all seamlessly without ever feeling too muddled. “The energy of this album is probably the most consistent theme,” Cristina exclaims. “Lyrically there are recurring themes as well such as outer space (“particularly black holes”), a defective soldier escaping North Korea, health issues and phobias (“coincidentally mostly not related to COVID”), romance/break ups, as well as feelings of depression and dissociation.”
Listen/share “Crisis Actor”:
The band’s newest single, the exhilarating post-punk “Fellini,” was written by Cristina and Alex in 2010 when they were heavily into post-punk icons Joy Division and wanted to make something in that New Wave/Punk vein. Their previous single – January;s mesmerizing “Portrait of Jennie,” was written by Cristina in June of 2020 while quarantining at her then partner’s place on the Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway, both sick with Covid. Both tracks also showcase the band’s love for cinema: “Portrait of Jennie” was written by Cristina after having recently watched the movie of the same name and being inspired by the movie’s fantastical plot, while “Fellini,” was written by the sisters as an ode to their mother’s love of legendary film director Federico Fellini.
On Crisis Actor, album Sandman Sleeps embroider songs new and old with honed musicality and diverse life experience. A cohesive album that refuses to settle for just one style, it features everything from ethereal, moody alternative (“Soaked, “Opaque,” “Induced”), punchy upbeat tropical punk leanings (“Feet,” “Fellini,” “Five Bell Alarm”) which capture the band’s restless on-stage chemistry and energy, and indie, alt pop indie rock tendencies (“Spiral,” “Rare Cloud”). Speaking about the lyrics, Cristina says she tends to create a symbolic dreamland where she stays somewhat vague as she finds it difficult to wrap her head around how to accurately communicate the experience to a lot of the things she writes about. “Sometimes being more vague or metaphorical is closer to the truth than even something spelled out literally,” she says. “Since Alex and I began writing some of the songs on Crisis Actor over ten years ago now, I went through many transitions and growing times especially lyrically.” She says she revised some of the lyrics of older songs on Crisis Actor but didn’t want to change them too much because she wanted to maintain a sense of documentation of where she was at when she wrote them, “unless of course the lyrics were cringeworthy,” she adds.
Crisis Actor knows no boundaries and never panders, instead letting us run with its emotional hints to our own destinations, different on every listen. Featuring soaring melodies, lurking basslines, and shape-shifting guitars, it’s an arresting, singularly evocative and authentic expression inspired by Pixies, Kate Bush, Talking Heads, and Tori Amos, be that as it may they still don’t sound like any of these – or really anyone else.
Crisis Actor is available on all DSPs now and ordered HERE.