Sandman Sleeps

“I like to create some sort of metaphorical dreamland,” said Sandman Sleeps’ vocalist/guitarist Cristina Peck. “To leave something to your imagination.”

The Floridian band’s debut album, Crisis Actor, is effectively a “best-of” culled from a decade of songcraft. It’s an arresting, singularly evocative and authentic expression inspired by Pixies, Kate Bush, Talking Heads, and Tori Amos, yet not sounding like any of these – or anyone else.

First formed by Cristina and her bassist sister Alex as teens, Sandman Sleeps reconvened with renewed passion in 2019. In between came spells of separation and togetherness, of depression and exploration, in art school and in various cities and bands. But the sisters missed their unspoken sibling synergy. Enhancing this with drummer Karsten Andersen and guitarist Zack Jones, they embroider songs old and new with honed musicality and diverse life experience.

“We’ve recorded this damn album, like, three times now,” laughed Alex, referencing Sandman Sleeps’ perfectionism before discovering Thunder House Studio in Fort Pierce, Florida, where Crisis Actor was co-produced with engineer Nick Diiorio in early 2021.

The record’s dynamic arrangements and Cristina’s glacial, borderline Bjork timbre lead by the hand rather than beat over the head. There’s a subtle yet insistent power of suggestion in its soaring melodies, lurking basslines, and shape-shifting guitars. Pictures are painted as much by words’ sound as their literal meanings. Crisis Actor knows no boundaries and never panders, instead letting us run with its emotional hints to our own destinations, different on every listen.

Cristina wrote mesmerizing first single “Portrait of Jennie” amidst the oddly liberating claustrophobia of being co-quarantined on Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway with her then partner, physically trapped yet increasingly spiritually free.

“Despite how draining and scary the sickness was, I’m fortunate to have eventually been able to find a calm in its lethargy,” she recalled. “I was forced to be hopeful, no matter what.”

Bass-propelled second single “Fellini” captures Sandman Sleeps’ restless on-stage chemistry and energy, with its wry refrain and cultured arrangement. The band’s art-rock leanings unfurl further on adventurous album closer “Rare Cloud,” which bottles the despair that spawned it before ending the record bathed in an exhalation of closure and relief.

“We play these songs like we’re gonna die tomorrow,” Cristina deadpanned. “The possibilities are endless.”

Tour dates

Sorry, there are no tour dates available at this time. Please check the artist’s website for more information.