Okay, I’ll admit it. I completely missed out first time around when the great Hattie Cooke dropped her album The Sleepers with Spun Out Of Control back in late 2019. It wasn’t until a couple months after her cassette dropped that I started hearing folks talking about this amazing album The Sleepers. Folks like Graham Reznick, Tony Giles, and I think I even saw Barack Obama tweet about how much they loved this dark, sleek little synth album(okay, maybe it wasn’t Barack…or was it?) I feel like I missed this Hattie Cooke train and there was no grabbing a ticket to get on board without looking like a poser.
Well, Spun Out Of Control are now re-releasing this instant classic once again, this time on gorgeous colored vinyl with remastering by Antony Ryan and a bonus closing track. Oh, it also has new reimagined artwork by Eric Adrian Lee. So if you’re like me and missed out first time around, well you’re in luck. Let’s take a step inside the world of Hattie Cooke’s The Sleepers.
So here’s the synopsis of The Sleepers:
People everywhere are falling asleep and not waking up, but nobody knows why. As the scientific community struggles to find a cure, a violent, new cult known as ‘the sect’ emerges with a mission; to sacrifice the sleepers and achieve absolution.
One morning, Maude awakes to find her sleeping son taken by the sect in the night. Searching for answers, she infiltrates the sect posing as a new convert. But she soon finds herself facing unexpected problems when she begins to fall for a fellow member who seems different from the rest.
Will Maude find the answers she’s looking for?
Hattie Cooke locks into the urgency of that story by giving us a simple but engaging score to fall into. She builds tension and anxiety, while also giving us glimmers of hope in the melancholy within the melody. Opener “Lies” has an early 80s feel to it, bringing to my mind Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream in the prime of their early 80s uplift. “Evacuation” opens with a synth riff but quickly locks into a sweaty dance floor beat. I could hear vocals over this and being a hit for OMD in 1981.
Elsewhere, “Run” puts me in mind of Mark Snow’s work on The X-Files. It completely locks into the dystopian world of the “Sleepers”. “Chamber” is absolutely gorgeous. It feels grand and ethereal, like entering some dream world you don’t want to leave anytime soon. “Safe Arms” puts me in mind of the great Mark Isham, part ambient tome and New Age enlightenment with the scope of a sci fi epic. “Main Theme” is pure electro synth pop. It’s made for road trips and dance floor excursions.
Bonus track “The Sleepers” is all menace and shadow. I’m reminded of Mr Eff’s Eyes Down album, along with Rob’s score for Maniac. It’s a stunning piece and gives The Sleepers a new and grand finale.
Hattie Cooke’s The Sleepers is everything you read about. It’s an engaging, dark, mysterious synth score to a world where some sleep and never wake up, while the rest are left to wonder what’s next. It’s an intimate electronic record of depth, emotional heft, and melodies you can sink into.
8.2 out of 10
Hattie Cooke’s ‘The Sleepers’ will be available 2/5 on colored vinyl via Spun Out Of Control. Get it here.