Sendelica - Sleepwalker Fever album review

North Wales space rockers early lift-off revived with pic disc, tee and sweets!

Sendelica - Sleepwalker Fever album artwork

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Sequestered among the rolling hills and ancient monuments of deepest Wales, space rockers Sendelica currently run progressive music’s most fertile cottage industry. Recent months have seen a blizzard of reissues and new additions to the bulging catalogue stoked during their 10 years of existence.

Sleepalker Fever originally appeared 10 years ago on Welsh label Tidylike as the soundtrack to Grant Wakefield’s impressionistic movie of the same name but was limited to 50 CDr copies served in a tin. Now it’s been reactivated and comes in a customised cardboard box, numbered out of 75, containing a soundtrack picture disc, DVD of the film plus T-shirt, envelope of photos – and a packet of Haribo. Obviously, there are less luxurious format incarnations but this attention to detail typifies the band’s determination to kick against faceless download culture and corporate conveyor-belts.

That aside, it’s both fascinating and rewarding to be given this previously illusive archival evidence of Sendelica’s earliest recordings. The band already consisted of core members guitarist Pete Bingham, bassist Glenda Pescado and sax titan Lee Relfe, plus drummer Paul Fields and one Bertie on trumpet. They kick off with their seismic take on Funkadelic’s Maggot Brain, retitled Return Of The Maggot Brains, which dunks Eddie Hazel’s galaxy-straddling guitar lament in Sendelica’s cosmic sauna, achieving rare heights for an earthly rock band. The song shows how many influences, including space jazz, 70s hard rock and early krautrock, were coursing in their pods ready to be ignited when the right moment came; as it does repeatedly on To Create Is Divine, Mr Floyd-Walker, Possessor Your Heart and Sun Of Sunfazed, which ebb, flow and pulse like the best dub and regularly head for the interstellar stratosphere. With their attitude, internal telepathy and boundary-free cosmic visions, Sendelica deserve to be much bigger, and upcoming double album Lilacs Out Of The Deadlands should clinch their world domination.

Meanwhile, this archaeological nugget fills the gap magnificently.

Kris Needs

Kris Needs is a British journalist and author, known for writings on music from the 1970s onwards. Previously secretary of the Mott The Hoople fan club, he became editor of ZigZag in 1977 and has written biographies of stars including Primal Scream, Joe Strummer and Keith Richards. He's also written for MOJO, Record Collector, Classic Rock, Prog, Electronic Sound, Vive Le Rock and Shindig!