Album Review: Sylva Faye – The Space Before Sleep

In an era dominated by ephemeral hits and fleeting trends, Sylva Faye’s latest album “The Space Before Sleep” emerges as an enduring beacon of authenticity. Returning after five years with a profound creation, the London-based multi-instrumentalist, flautist, and singer-songwriter presents an exploration that is as much a personal diary as it is a universal narrative.

A Fusion of Genres

Sylva Faye, known for her 20-year association with hip-hop and rap as a flautist, daringly steps into the realms of folk and indie in this ten-track album. The music is a celebration of her multi-instrumental prowess as she seamlessly transitions between mandolin, accordion, guitar, piano, and her signature flute. The result is an ethereal blend of indie, rock, folk, and ambient music that transcends categorization.

Emotional Roots

The core of “The Space Before Sleep” lies in its deeply emotional roots. Written while caring for her mother during her final days, the album captures the raw emotions of love, loss, grief, and survival. The title itself symbolizes that poignant liminal space between life and death, a place of reflection, transition, and acceptance.

Standout Tracks

Among the standout tracks, “Lemons” gracefully opens the album, setting a contemplative tone that guides the listener through Sylva’s life journey. “Kiss Chase” lightens the mood with its playful melody and whimsical lyrics, reflecting on love’s youthful innocence.”Here’s To You” is a heartfelt ode that resonates with anyone who has loved deeply and lost painfully. Its beautiful composition and earnest lyrics speak to the listener’s soul. “Past is like Water” flows like its namesake, meandering through reflections and memories, while “Horror Movie” offers a pop-infused contrast, an unexpected yet welcome divergence that showcases Sylva’s vast musical palette.

Live Performances

The live rendition of the album, performed with a nine-person band at venues like JT Soar Nottingham and Stoke Newington Old Church, adds another layer to the experience. The energy and passion evident in these performances breathe life into the music, transforming it from mere sound to a shared human experience. The sold-out show in London is a testament to Sylva Faye’s connection with her audience. The live band accompanying Sylva Faye throughout “The Space Before Sleep” brings a palpable depth and dynamism to the album that is nothing short of exceptional. Each musician adds a unique color to the lush tapestry of the songs, intricately weaving together layers of melody, rhythm, and harmony.

A Cathartic Journey

Sylva’s words encapsulate the album’s essence: “Making The Space Before Sleep helped me survive a really hard time in my life.” It’s not just a collection of songs but a therapeutic process that has allowed her to channel her grief into art. For listeners, it provides a window into her soul and offers comfort and understanding.

Critical Acclaim

Described as “an unusual and wonderful British female solo artist” by Faded Glamour and praised for having “A charming sense of relatability heightened by a unique talent” by When The Gramophone Rings, Sylva Faye has earned her accolades. Her hybrid sound has caught the attention of BBC Introducing, Tom Robinson’s BBC6 Mixtape, Demon FM, K2K Radio, and the Hype Machine, reinforcing her place in the contemporary music landscape.

A Lasting Impact

The album’s profound impact is not merely due to its musical richness but also its human connection. Sylva has laid her soul bare, allowing listeners to see their own fears, hopes, and dreams reflected in her work. The fact that her mother was able to hear the album and smile before departing this world adds an indelible spiritual dimension to the work.


“The Space Before Sleep” is a triumph in every sense. Sylva Faye has woven a musical tapestry that is at once personal and universal. She has crafted an album that speaks to the human condition, embracing the complexities of life, death, and everything in between.The album’s relatively short runtime of 23 minutes is deceptive, as it offers a timeless experience that lingers long after the last note has played. It is a work of art that reassures and heals, a testament to the transformative power of music.In a world that often feels disconnected, Sylva Faye has created a space where listeners can pause, reflect, and feel a little less alone. “The Space Before Sleep” is more than just music; it is empathy set to melody, a shared journey that reminds us of our shared humanity.Her exploration into new musical terrains, combined with her unique ability to articulate emotion, makes “The Space Before Sleep” not just an album but a cultural artifact that will undoubtedly continue to resonate with audiences for years to come. It is a soul-stirring masterpiece that stands as a poignant reminder of music’s ability to heal, connect, and inspire.

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