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MEDIA: Reviews: "Four Hours Sleep", Four Hours Sleep

"Four Hours Sleep" - Four Hours Sleep

4 stars

by Brad Norington - The Australian, 15 March 2014

THEY are an eclectic bunch and advancing in years - but there's the rub.

Four Hours Sleep is a band of Melbourne musicians brimming with experience that shows on its latest self-titled album, a highly crafted recording of contemporary pop bursting with freshness and spontaneity despite its precision.

Amazingly, this is only the band's third release in 18 years: the first two were More of Her (1996) and Love Specifics (2006). But members have been busy with their own projects in the meantime, and hopefully scoring more slumber than the band's name may suggest. The backbone of Four Hours Sleep is former Frente bassist Bill McDonald, who produced the album, wrote or co-wrote its tight nine tracks and plays bass, electric guitar and synthesiser. His main collaborator is the acclaimed Stephen Cummings, known best as vocalist for the Sports in the late 1970s and a string of solo works since. Cummings shares the singing throughout with former Frente lead vocalist Angie Hart, whose powerful voice resonates with a delightful Aussie accent.

There are also some wonderful harmonies from Vika and Linda Bull, and haunting, echoey vocals from Lilith Lane on two numbers, Green Arrow and A Multitude of Sins. Central to the excellent musicianship are Peter Luscombe (Black Sorrows, Rebecca's Empire) on drums and his brother Dan Luscombe (Blackeyed Susans) on guitar.

Luscombe's guitar playing ranges from light and subtle for the dreamy opening track, Think I'm Ready, probably the album's best, to thick and raunchy for Wriggle On. Some tracks are reminiscent of Brendan Gallagher's recent Wine Island. The mood shifts to nu jazz on A Multitude of Sins as Lane's vocal and Peter Knight's trumpet float high above.

"Four Hours Sleep" - Four Hours Sleep

3.5 stars

by Craig Mathieson - The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 April 2014

For local music fans the names are familiar on the new Four Hours Sleep album, but their songs are anything but. Helmed by Frente bassist Bill McDonald, the core participants include songwriter and lyricists Stephen Cummings and Angie Hart, as well as instrumentalists such as Drones guitarist Dan Luscombe and long-time Paul Kelly drummer Peter Luscombe. At a time when younger artists fixate on genre, these veterans take on country-soul (Early in the Morning), languid, late-night pop (Think I'm Ready) and lilting electronic textures (Test Your Love), finding home truths amid a welcome melodic ease.

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