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A Good Place: ELEN NEVER SLEEPS China Blue EP

It’s super tempting to call Tokyo artist ELEN NEVER SLEEPS “shoegaze,” mainly because dude offered the world a cover of My Bloody Valentine’s “When You Sleep.”


ELEN NEVER SLEEPS certainly boasts characteristics of that sound, but even his take on the Loveless classic reveals something a bit more complex. There are traces of “hipster R&B” which is just an idiotic way of saying a lot of space for the vocals to do their thing, such as go off into sexy wordless “ahhhhs.” Yet it also brings to mind similarly tough groups to place like Wild Nothing or Twin Shadow, who dabble in big fuzzy distortion but also turn to the 80s for the bulk of their inspiration.

The new China Blue EP further makes the task of categorizing ELEN NEVER SLEEPS even tougher. The title track sounds like it could be a lost cut from Wild Nothing’s excellent Gemini, an overall hazy feel concealing a strong sense of yearning and non-chillwave love of a decade far gone. Follow-up cuts “Crescent Cry” and “Sherry” touch on similar ideas, ELEN’s voice especially prominent as it whisps between the dusk-lit sounds within. Clocking in at under ten minutes, China Blue EP is a quick but gorgeous introduction to an artist way more complex than a simple tag. Listen below.

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