Review Summary: A solid, but somewhat lacking effort from Armor For Sleep. Fans of the band will be satisfied, but it won't bring in many new listeners.1 of 2 thought this review was well written
Armor For Sleep are back with their third effort "Smile For Them", but not much is different this time around. The only real change found in this album, is that it isn't
a concept album.
Upon first listen, something definitely seems to be lacking in their new release. Gone is the overall "dark" feel to most songs, but not much really replaces it. It's not quite hollow, but it definitely isn't a mature sound either. Vocally, Ben hasn't changed all that much. Fans of his work on the last two albums won't be disappointed, and those who hated it...well, they most likely still will.
Musically and lyrically, this album just feels so played out. There's nothing new, there really isn't much that's exciting. The standout tracks would have to be "Smile For Them" "End Of The World" "Stars In Your Eyes", but only because it seems like they've already hit. They've already been done. It's not that these tracks aren't good, because they are. They're everything that made people fall in love with AFS in the first place; loud, fast, and a little edgy, if not a tad whiny. The opening track "Smile For Them" has a hook that can get in your head instantly; but by a band's third release one would think there would be a little more growth. Lyrics like "I've got plans mostly just to hang around/Hoping for a hand-me-down/Staring at my bright future/I drive around waving like a sad parade" from "Run Right Back" are just stale at this point. And where they aren't boring, they are just plain bad
. (Ie. "Too hip to even clean your nose out/Your grave is pulling at your pants now/You will all die in Williamsburg" "Williamsburg")
"Smile For Them" ends on a different yet somewhat similar note than it started. "Stand In The Spotlight" seems like the ending to what the album began with, a song about fame. It features closing lyrics that almost sum up everything you've heard throughout these 12 tracks. "Just let their voices fade out/And stand in the spotlight/Take a bow" It seems appropriate to end with a slow track, because that's what this album is made up of. Slow...somewhat dragging songs.
With nothing new to bring to the table, Armor For Sleep have given us "Smile For Them". One has the uncanny urge to wonder if maybe they're spending too much time on smiling, and not enough on writing. It's a good album, but with no lasting value, and nothing to really catch the listener, they're smiles won't last for long.
Album Stream: http://www.myspace.com/armorforsleep