Review Summary: By taking an intriguing concept and molding a solid rock album around it, Armor For Sleep avoids the perennial sophomore slump in a big way.
Ahhh, Armor For Sleeps 2005 sophomore offering, "what to do when you are dead." One of the few albums that Have helped me overcome some very dark times, while still allowing me to listen to it again and again without losing any of it's punch. Befor me I begin the review, let me just make it clear that this is NOT a happy/uplifting album. Singer/lyricist Ben Jorgensen, while producing some beautiful and thought provoking lines, does not offer much inspiration throughout this album, but instead focuses on the dark times that everybody must face in life which, in turn, makes for an eerily relateable album in so many ways. Armor For Sleep, a 4 piece from New Jersey, is:
Ben Jorgensen- vocals, rhythm guitar
P J DeCicco- lead guitar
Anthony Dilono- bass
Nash Breen- drums, percussion
"What To Do When You are Dead," is a concept album, centered around the idea of A certain protagonist dying and reflecting back on his life, with the entire album being written by Ben from the perspective of being dead. The creativity is at a high here, a great plus for any album that definitely serves as the backbone for this particular one. On to the songs:
Right off the bat, we are blasted with perhaps Armor For Sleeps most popular song to date, Car Underwater, and for good reason. Great/relateable lyrics regarding a failed relationship, catchy hooks, some simple but great riffs from PJ and steady drumming/bass from Nash and Anthony respectfully. Bens voice is great in this one, filled with angst and emotion yet controlled at the same time, a theme for him throughout most of the album, this song is Armor For Sleep. Without letting up, we are smacked with some of the best written lyrics on the entire cd, the truth about heaven. Once again , PJ and Ben handle the guitars extremely well and play right off each other, Anthony's bass is surprisingly audible and Nash as always keeps the tempo to perfection, another catchy song and one of the best on the album. Next up is Remember to feel real, a simple yet powerful song that truly sums up just how strong feelings for a significant other can be. Somewhat catchy as well, another strong song for the record.
On to Awkward last words, personally one of my favorites in the album in terms of lyrics and vocal range from Ben here. Nice intro from PJ on guitar followed strongly by Nashs crash pounding and Anthony's solid bass, this song shifts the story of the record into the regretting phase of the story , and while this song is very dark, it is eerily relateable and powerful. Now we have Stay on the ground, a pretty underrated song that nearly everyone can relate to when they are having a bad day, well delivered by Ben so much that you can sense the passion and urgency in his voice, instruments sound as usual, good track. The short but masterful A Quick little flight follows, and while I don't approve of the almost autotuning on the song, the lyrics are beautiful and really make one think about life. Transitions well into the next track The More you talk the less I hear, which is extremely underrated and my favorite on the album. Ben is at his best on the vocal end, singing with so much emotion that on the chorus he is practically screaming while managing to keep his voice in check, and once again I love the lyrics, great drumming here too, check this one out for sure.
Basement ghost singing, much like the previous track, is highly underrated, and while the lyrics are typical emo, Ben delivers it well, but the guitar work is at its best here, with pj and Ben keeping an eery tune up the whole song , a super track. Oh man, our of the frying pan and into the oven, Waling at night, alone fits once again with the previous two, bens lyrics at its finest, a perfectly relateable song for anyone struggling with that relationship . I have been right all along delivers solid lyrics with a nice bass fill here actually, and just a decent song to round out the album with a pretty catchy chorus. To end the album, The sad but ever so true the end of a fraud appears, concluding the story of the album with its protagonist finally accepting his fate and moving on with himself, eery tune once again but great musician skill to produce it and a solid way to close out the cd.
Overall, What to do when you are dead provides listeners with great lyrics, vocals packed with emotion, solid instrumental work and a strong concept behind the work, which all adds up into one great rock/emo album that all fans of the genre should give a listen to .
Key tracks : Car underwater, truth about heaven, awkward last words, the more you talk, wAlking at night alone