We Never Learned To Live

The Sleepwalk Transmissions

Written by: KW on 07/01/2020 20:32:25

Holy Roar Records is truly one of the most exciting labels in the heavy music space of our generation, and they keep pumping out one fantastic record after the other. Today, we’re taking a look at one of the most criminally underrated records of 2019 to come out of the label: the sophomore full-length from the post-hardcore Brits of We Never Learned to Live, who have simply created one of the biggest surprises of 2019 in my book.

“The Sleepwalk Transmissions” sounds like the beautiful, anger-fuelled offspring of a heated night between Deftones and Hopesfall, spiced up with some cryptic sci-fi lyricism about simulations, artificial intelligence and digital loneliness, and yes, it is as interesting a record as it sounds, from a band which is clearly looking to explore and innovate while also keeping one foot firmly rooted in the sounds of early ‘00s post-hardcore. The opener “Permafrost” is the perfect track for presenting this sound, atmospheric static and pounding drums setting the mood before Sean Mahon’s powerful, emotional screams blow me back on top of a droning guitar. Mahon possesses one hell of a powerful voice and the ability to seamlessly transition between savagery and beauty, as he proclaims: ”The sound of humanity fell away, fell away!”, with his infectious British accent. “Android Anaesthetist” follows the same formula by providing another banging display of exciting song structure and a fantastic mix of ferocity and emotional punch, where especially the beautiful post-rock bridge in the middle sounds so blissful and serene. “Human Antenna” serves as one of my favourite moments in terms of melodic sensibilities, fine-tuned chaos and disharmony, while the endlessly catchy chorus is one I can’t help but make failed attempts to scream along to:

“I consent that I cease to exist

When it's okay that I emit transmission lines”

Probably the number one hit single on the album comes in the short but sweet “Luma Non Luma”, which once again meshes the fast d-beat aggression of hardcore with massive, melancholic soundscapes and singalong choruses, while elsewhere, “Wounds Like Wires” stands as one of the heaviest outings here by way of waves of dissonance and chaotic riffing. But surprisingly enough, it is actually two of the more subtle and less riff-heavy songs that take the cake for me — namely “The Clocks” and “Owari” where an icy atmosphere takes center stage and Gary Marsden’s ridiculously tasty and musical drumming really gets to breathe beneath twinkling lead guitars and droning bass, giving the album some dynamic spice in a pair of incredibly powerful songs that also reveal a lot of detail with repeated listens. “Radio Silence” follows this moody trend in a chilling last song, with foreboding tremolo picking and desperate screaming to finish off this utterly fantastic album in style.

I am a sucker for the contrasts of ugliness and beauty, heaviness and serenity, and to cure that specific itch, “The Sleepwalk Transmissions” is simply one of the strongest antidotes I have tried. The production is fantastic, the songwriting unique yet familiar, and every one of the musicians clearly plays with incredible emotional conviction. As it stands right now, people are definitely sleeping on this band — so please, wake up and get on this right now!


Download: Android Anaesthetist, The Clocks, Luma Non Luma, Wounds Like Wires, Owari
For the fans of: At the Drive In, Deftones, Hopesfall, Rolo Tomassi, Underoath
Listen: Facebook

Release date 10.05.2019
Holy Roar Records

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