Lady Sleep CD

Lady Sleep

CD/DLP, Kitty-Yo 2005 "Well-written, confident and throbbing with emotion – the heartbreak album of the year "Maximilian Hecker's third full-length is filled with fragile jewels so seductively lovely they're sure to melt the iciest soul [...] "The one to beat for the most romantic album of the year "Hecker's forte is in combining über-saccharine melodies [...] with lyrics that are almost macabre in their innocence and extravagant sentimentality


A Berliner busker introduced in 2001 by 'Infinite Love Songs', an album of downtempo beat-borne lullabies, Maximilian Hecker is now on album three, an affair that tickles the ivories more than tweaks the tempo. Downplaying programmed beats for lightly brushed piano and cello arrangements, Hecker has put together a much more sparse outing, one that moves at glacial pace. Hecker’s key strength is his voice, a croon with reverent, hymn-like inflections that swoons across the breathy-to-constricted spectra of Rufus Wainwright, Jeff Buckley, and Thom Yorke. With 'Lady Sleep', Hecker shows much more in common with the longing of troubadours such as Anthony and the Johnsons and Nick Drake than the shuffle of studio artists.

Rip & Burn

The story: Lanky Berliner Maximilian Hecker releases his third album of gentle torch songs. The vibe: Think Frank Sinatra meets Boards Of Canada by way of Radiohead – Hecker oozes class and sophistication all the way.


Nottingham Evening Post

As 'Lady Sleep' begins, so does a journey into the stunning, bittersweet musical world of Maximilian Hecker. The delicate piano of 'Birch' takes us by the hand while Max’s whispering, Tom Baxter-style vocals lead us through the twists and turns of this intricate and impressive album. There is perhaps only one point, when we reach 'Days of Nothing', that you might want to ask Maximilian where he’s taking us? But then 'Full of Voices', with a move from piano to guitar, moves us forward again and the album picks up the pace. The up and coming single 'Help Me' is followed by 'Snow' and the unsettlingly uplifting 'Dying', which shows us that Maximilian shares Tom McRae’s ability to take the dark and the shadowy and create something out-standingly beautiful. 'Yeah Eventually She Goes' is a real standout track full of the unexpected and surging passion. Finally the intelligently written title track brings us full-circle to the beginning of our journey leaving us with the satisfaction of treading new ground and discovering greater depths.


Aquarius Records

On his third full length, the spotlight is fully on Maximillian Hecker's voice. It brings to mind a drowsy Joe Pernice or David Gates from Bread. Y'know, it’s that sort of voice that just starts the hearts a-melting as soon as he opens his mouth. Hecker's backed by the full elegant pop assemblage of piano, strings ... soooo lovely! Lady Sleep captures the deep ache of lovelorn yearning and loss. it’s a box o' tissues listen. He'll probably also draw many comparisons to the grand swooping likes of Radiohead or Coldplay, and fans of those bands (particularly the latter) would do well to check Hecker out. The only song that steps outside of the hushed beauty comes late in Lady Sleep. "Yeah, Eventually She Goes" is the tenth of the album's eleven songs, and it jars with it’s sudden barrage of guitars which push it into that tired ol' quiet/loud camp. Really, it’s somewhat disappointing, coming across more as a Radiohead knock-off that this album could've done without. That said, setting that brief exception aside, we can say this album is absolutely haunting and heartbreaking.

Vanity Project

Frail piano torch songs delivered as though melancholia is both symptom and cure. The gap between useful catharsis and total heartbroken collapse is cigarette paper thin. The vocals are pitched high – not so vulgar as to be full of whine and shriek, rather these are careful whispers offering a close-up of a soul weighed down by this world where swords will always be crossed rather than melted down. This is a heart always full of life and love. It is like a resigned sigh expanding its musical repertoire, but when the guitars crash on 'Yeah Eventually She Goes', the woe becomes emphatic.

Rock Sound

"I walk to my own grave, and I watch the sun go down..." Mmm, cheery. And there are songs on here called 'Everything Inside Me Is Ill' and 'Dying', too. As proof that even the young and beautiful aren’t misery-free, 'Lady Sleep' makes a pretty convincing case, and also happens to be, as ever with Mr Hecker, a damn fine listen. Now on his third long player, Max’s astonishing gush of a voice is becoming more sepulchral than ever, and he’s engaging it in some truly gigantic songs of love, pain and, in cases like the gorgeous 'Help Me', even redemption. Pianos tinkle melancholically (most notably on 'Anaesthesia', almost Bright Eyes’ 'First Day Of My Life' in negative), guitars gently weep, and it’s all rather wonderful. Play next to the Antony and the Johnsons album for all the melodrama in the world.

BBC Collective | Chamber pop from Berlin

On 'Lady Sleep', his third album, the criminally underrated Maximilian Hecker returns to his recurring fascination with affairs of the heart. Although simpler (ie, less electronic) than his last album, 'Rose', 'Lady Sleep' is just as evocative: opulent orchestral symphonies sway with a shimmering elegance, the neo-Baroque chamber pop hints at stunning torch songs for the 21st Century and Hecker’s softly spoken vocals are gently affecting. Less camp than Antony And The Johnsons, although just as grand, Berliner Hecker, in anyone’s language, deserves to be a star.


Is This Music? Magazine

Despite a title that would perfectly fit a brand of tampons, Hecker's third album 'Lady Sleep' (released on cool Berlin-based Kitty-Yo), and follow up to 'Rose' (2003), reinforces him as one of the most talented German musicians around. Hecker's music is usually a crossover between Sigur Rós, Radiohead, Granddaddy and Kraftwerk, but for this album he has decided to go classical, with just a touch of pop-rock.

Most of the tracks on 'Lady Sleep' are sad, silky and melodic heart-rending lullabies performed with (an occassionally spectral) piano, guitar and violin. The opening track 'Birch' begins with a long instrumental introduction verging between the dramatic and the classical, then, after four minutes or so it bursts into epic mode and literally turns into an anthemic song. On the etheral 'Summer Days in Bloom', Hecker's voice becomes a soft whisper that can barely be heard, while 'Full of Voices' is a pop ballard best savoured on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Lady Sleep is the sort of album that can melt even the coldest and hardest hearts.

Urb Magazine

For the far more serious pop music fan, Hecker’s neon-tinged tunes have been a secret treat. But on his latest long-player, he’s abandoned the old-school electronics to play things straight. So straight that the album sounds like a far less histrionic take on Snow Patrol or even Keane. Quietly refreshing.

On his third full-length, young German troubadour Maximilian Hecker sheds nearly all of the down-tempo, Thievery Corporation filigree of his first two albums, aiming instead for a record held together by spare piano chords, gravity-free vocals, and keyboards that sound like Eno on an ice floe. Think Rufus Wainwright pried from his gluttonous Broadway bombast and forced to rely on free-floating emotion, a few loose piano bones and the occasional acoustic strum.

Hecker's voice has a weightless femininity, a less constipated falsetto than Thom Yorke -- more like a pillowy exhale that never once touches a lower register. Though the arid balladry can make one hunger for an intrusion of riff or the anchoring ground of a bass line, Lady Sleep gorgeously passes through like a lingering shiver.

If I was a more thoughtful, deep and meaningful person and German then I'd like to be Maximilian Hecker. Despite his tortured soul songs I reckon the guy gets more fluff than a Mach 3 razor. Just let the pianos, cellos, acoustic guitars and crooning on 'Lady Sleep' get a hold of you and I reckon even the fattest, sweatiest, hetrosexualist of darts-playing men will feel more than a tinge of retrospective melancholy and a perhaps just a passing 'frisson' of sentimentality.

it’s like the times you've been caught out by Keane or Snow Patrol when you found yourself guiltily enjoying them though deep down you know your wasting everybody's time and money. Well with Max it’s different, I don’t know why, it’s just more fragile and less pathetic whilst being just as epic and mind-blowing as the last one (Rose) too, in fact even more so. it’s like it was written specifically to make you appreciate the dark, miserable, hell that is January.

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