Andy Fleet, is songwriter, pianist and vocalist, on his latest release, ‘The Sleepless Kind’. He lists his influences from a diversity of artists, Tom Waits, Allen Toussaint, Lennon and Donald Fagen to name a few. His debut album ‘The Night Falls Asleep’ was back in 2009. 2013 brought New Orleans vibe to ‘Takin’ Aim’, which included the soul baring final track that tells of the tragic night his baby son died, ‘Brave Little Soldier’.
Before digging into the meat of this album, I would like to draw attention to the lovely artwork cover, a nightscape, overlooked by an owl, a nightshift for the birds, an Album Low conception, a sort of Batman, overlooking Gotham City, quite superb.
This new work, The Sleepless Kind, builds on that nocturnal bent, unusual in being book ended, by a part 1 and part 2, by the split title track, stark piano melody, with Andre Canniere’s, haunting muted trumpet, the term bookend, is a bit unfair, I feel it tells you everything about the album, and, arguable is the bit of colouration the recording needs. ‘Been There Drunk That’, is full on, jazz edged, ride, trumpet, Joe Evans on drums, Zane Maertens, bass, Pete Kershaw on electric guitar, and Chez Taylor adding, sax. We’ve all been there, a night on the tiles, foot loose and free, but you know how its going to feel in the morning. Ring tone underscores, cool jazz licks, restrained drums, muted trumpet, and lovely piano, reveal ‘All Broke Out With The Blues’, another one for the late night cellar club, sat on your own, nursing a whisky, and for me, one of the songs on the album, that talks to me. ‘Stolen Years’, shouts at you John Lennon, in his later soulful, melancholic years, imagine, then suffering such a violent and obscure end in the streets of New York. Piano accompanies Andy’s voice, as he sings a tribute to a lost friend and, ‘Hobbyist’. Brushed snare, and deep slow bass support the piano, flute whispers in, this is Andy’s conceptual core of the album, ‘Through Closed Eyes’“I am the night that has no dawn, I am the light nocturnal”, Andre’s trumpet drifts in, its laid back and soulful, one for the night owls. ‘Loves Enemy’, breathes a little life into the album, “truth is she’s no angel, she’s the enemy number one”, a love hate relationship that rips through the heart of this CD. Melancholic messages are sent out in, ‘I’ve Had It All’, taking us back into those sleepy, resigned hours. Sleepless Kind, part 2, close the door on the night, starkly bare, piano and trumpet.
Maybe not an album I would personally select, it is quite niche, though I’m sure many including Andy’s fans will find plenty to enjoy. As the title implies, it is an album for the night, the late hours that trickle over into the early hours. Andre’s trumpet is haunting, framing the darkened skies, Joe’s subtle drum breaks, add ambience, and Andy’s piano scores lovely melodies.
Accepting, there will be many who will find solace and some comfort in the lonely hours listening to this music, I would like to have heard, a bit more passion and shape in the lyrics, something that finds traction, and lingers in your mind, but maybe that’s just the point. My late hours, and there are plenty, are filled with a book, and a small malt to hand, they may not work any better, perhaps the perfect background music, to mask the noise of the night. Worth getting a copy for the gorgeous art work of Album Low, the music will take root in your inner soul.