The Sleeping
The Big Deep


3.5
great

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
September 23rd, 2010 | 160 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Both progressive & poppy, this is a sincere & deceptively catchy rock LP.

It can be a fine line between pleasure and pain… Love and hate… Genius and madness. In the music industry; it can be a fine line between striking it big and being just another one of the thousands of run-of-the-mill artists plying their trade worldwide. One hit single can be all that it takes to transform also-rans into career-long bankable sellers. Hell, in some cases, it can be as little as a gimmicky video, a great publicity campaign, or even a good old-fashioned controversy of some kind! Long Island quintet The Sleeping have seemingly been on the cusp of a giant leap forward ever since they released their debut LP in 2004. Single ‘Don’t Hold Back’ laid the foundation by landing spots on Guitar Hero 3 & Madden ’07, while killer 2009 cut ‘Bomb the World’ may have just been an unfortunate song title away from breaking the band into the big time. Come fourth album ‘The Big Deep’; commercial success looks to be the last thing The Sleeping are concerned with.

The band’s 2009 release - the energetic, up-tempo and heavy ‘What It Takes’ – shot for the stars looking for a greater audience, and while its successor’s opener ‘Dark Days’ begins with similar wailing guitars, thumping drums and pronounced bass-lines, ‘The Big Deep’ quickly veers away from such an immediate sound. One need only look at the song titles – ‘Dark Days’, ‘Beautiful Gloom’, ‘Black Waves’ and ‘The Phantom of Darker Clouds’ – to realize this will not reach the top of the charts. Yet, it is also not as dark and melancholy as it would appear, with an “every cloud has a silver lining” connotation to most of the lyrics. The general theme is of learning from reaching one’s lowest points and putting them behind you. “On my way down, saw a different side of the moonlight” states the catchy chorus of highlight ‘Beautiful Gloom’, while the refrain on ‘Deafening the UK’ asks “What’s the use in hiding when you’re down?” before prompting “Pick yourself off the ground”.

Previously categorized as post-hardcore, The Sleeping do not submit to genre trends on ‘The Big Deep’, instead focusing more on texture and atmosphere, making them more difficult to compartmentalize. In addition to a greater reliance on Chris Evans’ electronics, there is little outright screaming from Doug Robinson here. In fact, as the album progresses, Robinson’s distinctively raspy vocals fade into the background a little, allowing the band’s superior musicianship a chance to impress. If anything, there is more of an alternative rock vibe apparent and this allows the band to subtly explore waters previously uncharted. This is a positive in most cases throughout this relatively consistent LP, however some listeners may feel that ‘The Big Deep’ gets a little too one-paced at times. Loyal fans will welcome the quintet’s hallmark mid-album jazz break that is ‘The Phantom of Darker Clouds’, but will they feel similarly about the foray into unmemorable radio-rock that is the jangly ‘Oh, Gloria’?

If there is one track which sums ‘The Big Deep’ up best, it is its oddly titled closer and lead single ‘Young Vibes… Don’t Run Away From Me’. Containing an extended intro of sorts, it initially suggests anything but being an album's forerunner. Nonetheless, this bass-driven cut is deceptively catchy and shows The Sleeping as a rock band who are able to successfully combine both their progressive and poppy nature. This amalgamation of styles means that ‘The Big Deep’ is unlikely to win over many new fans, since it is not as immediate as its predecessor. Yet, by switching the production duties back from Brian McTernan to Michael Birnbaum & Chris Bittner (who produced their first two LP’s), it is an album which is destined to reveal itself over multiple listens and have greater replay value. So no matter what audience ‘The Big Deep’ finds, one must respect The Sleeping for this sincere and passionate performance… For this truly is now a band that feel comfortable in their own skin.

Recommended Tracks: Beautiful Gloom, Young Vibes… Don’t Run Away From Me, The Big Deep & Dark Days.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 23rd 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I disappointed myself in not coming up with some witty, puntastic summary concerning the word “sleeping”.

thediamondcanopy
September 23rd 2010


510 Comments


Good review.

Digging: Free Throw - Those Days Are Gone

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 23rd 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks Douglas. I initially thought it was going to be an easy review to write, but it turned out the opposite. This is just one of those bands that are difficult to pin down.

thediamondcanopy
September 23rd 2010


510 Comments


I could see that. I'll have to give this a listen, Questions and Answers was a beast of a record.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 23rd 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album sort of leans back towards the sound of 'Questions & Answers', but they have tried to learn from 'What It Takes'. It works for the most part, but I don't think too many fans will think this is better than 'Q&A'.

Enotron
September 23rd 2010


7695 Comments


lulz....deceptively catchy?

Enotron
September 23rd 2010


7695 Comments


^...wait woah i literally just wrote that out without even like thinking about typing woah davey it appears my subconscious has just spoken to you

thediamondcanopy
September 23rd 2010


510 Comments


The way you made it sound, they're a lot more comfortable in what they're doing now. Q&A was good, but it didn't feel "solid".

fromtheinside
September 23rd 2010


18717 Comments


heavy at all? did they keep the semi-harsh vocals?

Digging: Devin Townsend Project - Z2

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 23rd 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Eno, I deceptively have subliminal powers.

I really feel they are comfortable in what they have produced here. A band being comfortable does NOT always result in an album being better received however.

fti, everything is pared back. Like I said in the review, there is practically no screaming. And if it's heavy in any way, it's more in an atmospheric fashion. You'll still like this fti, but you have to give it more than 1 listen.

fromtheinside
September 24th 2010


18717 Comments


i hope so because what made me love The Sleeping so much was their raw approach to post hardcore, both of which you say they ditch

xfearbefore
September 24th 2010


1245 Comments


Just gave this a listen based off this review, pretty good. The lead singer really reminds me alot of the lead singer of Say Anything at some points. Good album that's probably bound to upset their older fans.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 24th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hmm, now I'm not so sure fti. YouTube the lead single & it will give you a good indication.

I've heard the comparison to Max before & while it's not way off the mark, I can't say I agree with it. He definitely has/had a distinctive voice though. I'm still 50-50 on how older fans of the band will react. I guess we'll find out soon enough.

AtavanHalen
September 24th 2010


17927 Comments


Wow, CK, do you have a laptop in the middle of the road or something? It's where you get all your music.

fromtheinside
September 24th 2010


18717 Comments


Previously categorized as post-hardcore, The Sleeping do not submit to genre trends on ‘The Big
Deep’

Robinson’s distinctively raspy vocals fade into the background a little, allowing the band’s
superior musicianship a chance to impress.

both lines make me weary
more importantly have they topped 'bomb the world'?

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 24th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Oh hardy har har Crapavanhalen. Now how about you and your iPhone get out from the bottom of that barrel.

No fti, they have not topped 'Bomb The World'. I can definitely tell you that.

AtavanHalen
September 24th 2010


17927 Comments


iPhone? THAT's your insult?
Why would I have a phone where I couldn't play Snake? Think it through.

bailar14
September 24th 2010


1603 Comments


buen trabajo

Spare
September 24th 2010


5313 Comments


saw catchy in the summary knew it was gonna be a davey review

Knott-
Emeritus
September 24th 2010


10198 Comments


Haha, I knew you were gonna review this, I was last.fm stalking you the other day. The same website told me these guys are similar to Bayside, and you say that as well - so you can count me in.



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