Music Reviews


Reviews 5-21-2006


The Dawnseeker

by Sleepthief

Visit Sleepthief's website

Visit Sleepthief's MySpace website


Being a website that is dedicated to promoting women vocalists and musicians I was perplexed when this CD arrived in the mailbox as I wasn’t sure why it had found its way to Cutting Edge Voices. Sleepthief is the performance name of Justin Elswick who is a full time attorney who writes and performs some “lush and innovative electronic pop” music. You’re probably thinking the same thing I was at this point,  “Why would this be something I would want to promote on CEV?”  Upon closer examination it became abundantly clear why this is very much a CEV release.   

While it is true that Justin Elswick is a male performer and writes some great electronic pop music he also employed a great roster of female vocalists to bring his music to life and boy did he do a great job of picking them out and allowing them to expressively interpret his compositions. Among the list of collaborators that you will find on this release are Kirsty Hawkshaw, Caroline Lavelle, Harland, Kristy Thirsk, Jody Quine, Kyoko Baertsoen, Nicola Hitchcock, Roberta Carter Harrison, san.drine, Jerri Eckert and Lauren Edman. This list of vocalists is what makes this CD a prime candidate for featuring it on CEV. This CD has been two years in the making and the music that is found here and the vocals that accompany it show that the energy has been well spent.  

 Overall the music on this CD has an ethereal feel to it that surrounds you with the instrumental soundscape and then lulls you with the lilting vocals that are woven into and around the music. That is not to say that the entire project is music to drift off to sleep to because that would not be an apt description of what the CD has to offer the listener. In fact there are quite a few styles of music that you will find on this release including Celtic flavored, jazzy, trip hop and even a full on drum & bass piece. The constant thread that runs through each of the songs are some of the most excellent female voices you are going to hear on a single musical project for quite some time to come.  And even though you have many individual voices on this project they all speak as one through the musical backdrop that Justin has created which allows each vocalist latitude within her abilities to bring her own sensibilities to the piece that she is working on. For those of you who have found and enjoyed the music of Happy Rhodes there is a song on here that is very reminiscent of her music. Listen to a sample of track 7 called Sublunar (Sweet Angel) and see if you agree. And if you are a fan of Berlin you will find a great remake of their hit song The Metro. A beat filled but smooth as silk interpretation of the original with Jerri Eckert more than aptly filling the shoes of Terri Nunn who sang the original as the lead vocalist of Berlin.  

Having listened to the disc several times through I can unhesitatingly say that you will be amazed at the unified feel that you will get from this CD as a whole. With this many individual vocalists you might expect it to have a compilation kind of feel to it and that is definitely not what you will get from this
CD. Be sure to stop by the Neurodisc website and sample a few of the tracks for yourself and I’m sure you will find yourself nodding in agreement.  You might also stop by the Sleepthief website and check out a couple of samples as well. Don’t say I didn’t warn you if you end up having to add this CD to your collection. It is highly addictive. This is one of those must have titles for 2006. It will be available to buy on June 27 and I recommend you pick up a copy for yourself. Unequivocally recommended.  

Reviewed by Michael Foster editor CEV