I think I was first introduced to Sleeping States (Markland Starkie & others) in the early summer months of 2007. A friend showed me the full length album There Are Open Spaces and told me I'd need not to ever listen to anything else, and I guess he was right. It was one of those albums that, despite hearing it via shoddy PC speakers, you instantly fall in love with it. Starkie uses electric guitars, found sounds, and vocal samplers in such a way that always manages to sound endearingly close and intimate whilst feeling gorgeously expansive at the same time. I can never find fault with his voice - he has that kind of barely-there crooning range that never ceases to impress me. The lyrics, simple and concise, seem to unravel slowly and carefully as if singing was as natural as conversation. I've had the pleasure of seeing Sleeping States twice only, in Brighton, with each gig a small and intimate affair. The most recent was a with the wonderful Fanfarlo (with whom he made a split single with which I highly recommend) in The Hope and the first being in the tiny space of the Prince Albert with Gentle, Friendly and Marcus Hessenberg and The Tulips. I recall this gig being punchier and louder than the second, which is what the new EP Old vs. New encompasses. The opener, 'Planning My Escape' has been revisited and reworked, with a noticeable addition of a simple drum beat and subtle crashes of cymbals. While the song is perfectly successful, for me the old expression "if it ain't broke..." plays on my mind, as it feels like the stripped down beauty of the original has been lost. However the reworking of 'A Trip to NYC' still sounds as magnificent as always, and 'Trumpet Calls' makes for some glorious glorious noise. The EP also features a cover of Life Without Buildings' 'Liberty Feelup' - and I actually prefer it to the original. The EP may somewhat surprise fans who've only been introduced to Markland's softer side, but with that in mind, the EP is meant to be a reflection of what the recent live shows have entailed, with emphasis on more of a traditional 'band' set up. And since they've recently been supporting Noah and The Whale (no comment) I've no doubt their fan base is going to blossom somewhat. I guess most bands enjoy a 'jam' from time to time, and although I kinda dislike using the word 'jam' (in the music context, not generally) 'Old vs. New' is a nice example of Markland & co effortlessly creating something exciting to tide us over until the new album floats ashore.