Another Sky – ‘I Slept On The Floor’ review: powerful post-rock with a truly once-in-a-generation voice

The album mixes the personal and the political viciously with compassion

The music of Another Sky has the loftiest of ambitions. Across their debut album ‘I Slept On The Floor’, their shimmering soundscapes feel like they have the power to fell buildings and change lives and opinions; the music hits like a hurricane, mixing the gargantuan post-rock power of Mogwai with the soaring communal spirit and guts of Arcade Fire.

The staggering voice of Catrin Vincent, though, isn’t comparable at all. “People say I sound like a man,” Vincent says. “Maybe that means they’ll listen.” Ever since the band played their first show at London’s St Pancras Old Church in 2017, when the four-piece played cloaked in darkness and shadow, people clamoured to know just who was behind this voice. Vincent wondered why it mattered.

Far from a 2010s blog-era publicity stunt of anonymity, it called into question wider ideas about fans’ access to musicians as people as well as performers, not to mention the highly gendered aspect to these particular questions of a vocalist.

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Though the mask was never truly there from Vincent’s perspective, it is ripped off with fury on ‘I Slept On The Floor’. The album mixes the personal and the political viciously, with music so powerful it’s impossible not to take notice, all fronted by a once-in-a-generation voice.

Tracking Vincent’s move from a right-wing town to London (best shown on the arena-ready single ‘Fell In Love With The City’), the album is a reckoning with past selves, aiming to find a place of acceptance in your new surroundings, while also become ever more aware of the evil and danger all around

When the band aren’t flexing their muscles on arena-sized rock soundscapes, they prove themselves nimble and dexterous on music of an ‘In Rainbows’ ilk. On the fantastic ‘Brave Face’, they’re able to pull off both, with Vincent roaring: “Only you can demand all you deserve.”

Vincent’s voice – the anchor of ‘I Slept On The Floor’ and a ceaseless wonder – can be fragile, soulful, powerful and viciously angry all within a split second, and it carries the band to vertigo-inducing heights. There’s more Radiohead to be heard on the slinky ‘Riverbed’, where Vincent’s vocals travel from a threatening whisper to an almost choral peak.

Previous single ‘Avalanche’ then sees her baring her teeth, documenting “desperation on every street corner” and tackling police brutality, racism, nationalism and the #MeToo movement, before raging against how futile activism can often seem, singing: “When you hold them to account they’ll spit you out, just a bad taste in their mouth.”

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Hope does arrive on the strikingly vulnerable ‘Let Us Be Broken’, though, which explodes into a chorus that feels like an opening of the blinds, embracing vulnerability and using the fragments left behind to mark a path forwards. “Let us be broken, let us be open,” she sings. “Let us name the cage, grow a garden in its place.” Here, and across the fantastic ‘I Slept On The Floor’, is music with the power to shake you from your slumber.

Details

  • Release date: August 7
  • Record label: Fiction
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