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ALBUM REVIEW: We Never Learned To Live; The Sleepwalk Transmissions. Progress and Elevation; It’s an Exciting Time to be a WNLTL Fan

We Never Learned To Live are a band that bring wall-of-noise riffs colliding together with soaring vocals that roll over atmospheric choruses. They’ve been on the road touring the UK and Europe and writing for the last four years since the release of their debut Silently We Threw Them Skywards taking on festivals such as Arc Tan Gent. Now We Never Learned To Live are back with their first full length release. The Sleepwalk Transmissions.

 

‘It’s evident immediately that The Sleepwalk Transmissions is no mere recap of their previous work…’

The Sleepwalk Transmissions kicks in with Permafrost, a familiar atmospheric WNLTL style riff builds the intro before bringing in the heavy guns early, punching into a heavier sound than we’ve previously seen from this band. With screamed vocals and a faster chugged pace riff riding out of classic WNLTL verses, taking on a more hardcore style in areas (something the band has not tackled previously). It’s evident immediately that The Sleepwalk Transmissions is no mere recap of their previous work and Permafrost will no doubt prove a powerful opener in their upcoming run of shows.

Describing the third track on the album Human Antenna the band commented “I remember hearing what became Human Antenna for the first time, and that was a moment for me where the ‘sound’ for the new record really clicked… and that became the new benchmark for all new material.” For existing WNLTL fans this track really shows off exactly what they’ve been doing for the last four years, honing their skills and sculpting their sound giving us catchy vocal hooks over tense drum beats and a distorted twangy bass that rides throughout; that said WNLTL have kept their signature rise and fall we’ve come to know and love from this band.

‘Taking on a more aggressive face, ripping through a track that feels both raw and refined at the same time…’

Luma Non Luma both serves as the lead single but also stand out track and if anythings going to get bodies moving at shows it will be this song, start to finish taking on a much faster pace than we’re used to hearing from WNLTL. This is a new direction for the band right here, approaching more of a hardcore, almost punk sound in places without losing any of the unique qualities that make this band a force to be reckoned with and is sure to prove a new fan favourite. Taking on a more aggressive face, ripping through a track that feels both raw and refined at the same time, this is a great sign for things to come, we can’t wait to see how they present this live.

‘Wounds Like Wires is the perfect example of bringing together exciting new ideas as well as continuing their mainstay of  moving atmospheric sounds familiar to WNLTL’s previous work.’

Wounds Like Wires has been our personal favourite from this album, just when you think that we’re back to classic WNLTL sound off the back of the fury of “Luma Non Luma” they show further progression by throwing a much more metal sound into the middle section of the track; something else really fresh and new for this band that shows that they’re not settled with heading in just one direction. Wounds Like Wires is the perfect example of bringing together exciting new ideas as well as continuing their mainstay of moving atmospheric sounds.

The walls of Retreat Syndrome and Owari sandwich the interlude-esque From The Sixth Floor, a shorter, stripped back track, just a single guitar riff and repeating vocal hook of which singer Sean said “we really wanted a song that just paused the action for one moment, like an audible representation of coming up for air.”

The album builds towards the huge beautiful crescendo later at the end of Radio Silence, slowing and flowing out gradually, losing instruments until only the drums remain to lead off into nothing. And whilst the last few tracks are solid, we can’t help but feel a longing for the ingenuity that was showcased in the first two thirds of this album.

‘In almost every track there is a moment which made us sit up and really take notice…’

With The Sleepwalk Transmissions WNLTL haven’t lost any of their unique sound and fans of earlier work won’t find themselves lost with the new record; it feels very familiar. In almost every track there is a moment which made us sit up and really take notice, where they’d brought something new to their arsenal and deployed it with great effect; whether it was the urgency and rawness of Luna Non Luma, the stark contrast of a double bass pedal plunging into an atmospheric void on The Clocks or the central breakdown riff on Wounds Like Wires. There were moments of sheer brilliance in this album. The Sleepwalk Transmissions is a stepping stone to greatness and we can’t wait to see what the band do with all these new ideas they’ve only just begun to explore, what they’ll bring next and what moments of genius we’ll be dropping our jaw to on future tracks from We Never Learned To Live. This is a band that we truly believe has so much more to come.

 

‘The Sleepwalk Transmissions is a stepping stone to greatness and we can’t wait to see what the band do with all these new ideas they’ve only just begun to explore…’

7/10

Words: Ben Mercer

Released: 10th of May.

Label: Holy Roar Records.



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