Sleep Beggar Shares His ‘Depression Tactics’

Sleep Beggar

From the heights of needed perspective to the depths of social seclusion, Sleep Beggar journeys through it all in his debut album Depression Tactics. Released through the label American Scream Records, this rap-metal-electronica hybrid paints a gritty reality sprinkled with ethereal dissociation.

The reality sets in during the first track, “Heating Up Leftovers,” with a pad almost reminiscent of a church organ, ethereal environmental sounds, and many indiscernible voices. Out of all of this, the producer’s own voice emerges and yet risks blending into the background: “Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer helps you grow or makes you happy; an end to all beginnings, forever I go.” Aside from this line, the rest of the inspirational, arrhythmic spoken word contains catchy alliteration and rhymes.

The narrative explodes in “Stage Whispers” through a high-gain beat drawing heavy metal influences. Vocals scream of standing in ashes and plead for pushes forward. “Saltwater,” the third track, slams another acid metal beat underlined by a high-gain bass synth. In the hook Sleep Beggar interrogates, “Why are we holding our hearts for ransom?” After the hook repeats, “In Your Abscence” drives, hopefully towards an answer. Machine-gun drums beat before abruptly ending without one.

Out of the silence a woman speaks of so many cultures coming together resulting in a “loss of traditional values.” She wonders how one can go on living in a home that’s unrecognizable. “Ghost Games” gradually intensifies until the loudest screams yet are heard: “We are everything to everyone.”

Sleep Beggar Calls Debut Depression Tactics a “Love Letter To Ego Death”

The screams die and the airy synth from the beginning of the album returns. “Mother Tongue” induces a dissociative experience with spacey vocal harmonies. The next track, “The Lonely Outpost” (my personal favorite from the record) brings out the Welshman’s accent again. Here he spits spoken verses of defeat before returning to the fight with renewed strength. Ultimately, though, he falls to silence.

As the Sleep Beggar rises again in “Cesspool,” the new beat sucks you in like murky quicksand. The consistent synths break just long enough to fool you into believing you’re out, then yank you back in even harder than before.

Then the beat stops. Applause. At a pedestal, the Beggar’s voice, full of conviction, speaks of being tired of hearing fear. Cheers erupt in response. Applause.

“Hikikomori (n): A Japanese term that refers to the phenomenon of reclusive adolescents or adults who withdraw from social life, often seeking extreme degrees of isolation and confinement.” This phenomenon inspires the Beggar’s final message. If you’re looking for a storybook, happy ending, look elsewhere. Depression Tactics concludes with a cliffhanger that calls for an answer. In a world pulling inward on itself — no matter whether created by co-dependence, childhoods of soft parenting, and/or rigid pass-or-fail social and educational expectations — how will those within it respond?

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