Review of Personality: One Was A Spider One Was A Bird Album by The Sleepy Jackson

The Sleepy Jackson
Personality - One Was a Spider One Was a Bird

The Sleepy Jackson Personality: One Was A Spider One Was A Bird Album

The second album by Australia's Luke Steele, following 2003's very successful debut, Lovers. Where Lovers mixed electronica with classic pop, indie and country rock, the result, though fun in parts, was a bit of a hodge podge. Personality is a whole lot more rounded, but still a bit of an oddity. Someone clearly had fun making it, but the happy feel of George Harrison's solo work is evoked more than perhaps the Pet Sounds of the Beach Boys that Steele was aiming at. This is a summer album, undoubtedly, but it's a bit more of a seaside candy floss version of the Flaming Lips than is good for you (it does veer into a song or two of kitschy pop that would shame Eurovision), so it isn't easy to recommend Personality - Luke Steele may be the only person this album was made for.

Rating 6/10

Mike Rea

Review 2

The Sleepy Jackson
Personality: One Was A Spider One Was A Bird
Album Review

For anyone still mourning the demise of Grandaddy, The Sleepy Jackson are here with a similar brand of pristine leftfield pop that should tide you over until Jason Lytle releases his solo record.

On first listen Personality seems a bit monochrome, the country influence and the "ooh" and "aah" vocal harmonies that seemingly pervade every song become taxing. But stick with it, and you'll find a lot of beauty.

There is also a wider variety of sounds than there seems to be initially. "You Won't Bring People Down In My Town" exhibits a strong Motown influence with its crisp staccato drums, whereas "How Was I Supposed To Know" is a masterclass in skewed pop with Luke Steele's helium vocals cutting through epic Mantovani strings.

Another common theme that runs through the record is religion, with titles like "God Lead Your Soul", "God Knows" and "Higher Than Hell." This is one of those records which ponders on the bigger questions of life, that often fall on the wrong side of the pompous line, this one, though stays mostly tasteful, and is an engaging, complex listen.

Ben Davis

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