It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the lacquer of Britpop has faded so badly; if you were there you shouldn’t rememeber it and those that weren’t have long had the monopoly in pointing out it’s very public flaws.
One positive aspect of the supposed cultural renaissance – mostly now overlooked – was the platform it gave to women, despite the surrounding fug of laddishness, as Elastica, Echobelly and a reinvigorated St.Etienne outmuscled almost all of their male counterparts.
Sleeper not only had the best singer, the best songs and the coolest frontperson of all of them, they also had the sense to quit whilst they remained just about ahead, their 1997 swansong Pleased To Meet You a passable token for getting out whilst the getting was still good.
Reformed in 2015, The Modern Age is their first new work since then and perhaps unsurprisingly is something of a halfway house. Lyrically it focusses on things an older and wiser Louise Wener observes in the now such as messy divorces and troll culture, but musically the emphasis is on familiar ground, the sort of Blondie-on-Carnaby-Street tip which on Dig serves to remind us that Sleeper were one of the era’s few bands worth remembering. An interesting, if not essential, return.
You can read a full review here.