Review Summary: Let's cheers to deleting this off my iTunes after writing this review.
Sleeping With Sirens’ status as ‘scene-kings’ and legions of teenage girls worshipping frontman Kellin Quinn make it understandably easy to not bother with their music. I, however, greatly enjoyed 2011’s Let’s Cheers To This, which was a catchy, accessible and cohesive record from top to bottom. The band’s profile has grown even larger since then and obviously they’re worried about this a lot more than their music, because Feel is a regression in their sound and is my first great disappointment of 2013.
First of all, I’ll address what is likely the only positive of the album. Kellin Quinn’s tenor leggiero voice soars to new heights and sounds great doing so. It is Kellin’s voice that defines Sleeping With Sirens, and without it, this band would be getting next to no attention, and for good reason. The musicianship throughout is generic, repetitive and overall uninspired – nothing you couldn’t find in any post-hardcore or heavier pop-punk band out there.
One thing Let’s Cheers To This didn’t lack was hooks, and you’d think there’d be at least some catchy songs on Feel. Well… when first single “Low” was released, I was content but underwhelmed, it didn’t really pack a punch in its chorus or otherwise. Turns out it’s the strongest song on the entire record. Opening number “Feel”, has a stratospheric chorus but a weird arena-pop vibe dampens what could have been a strong track. It only gets worse. Every song begins to sound the same, blending together into a 44-minute slug of pedestrian post-hardcore. It makes for a near unbearable listening experience – I found my legs shaking in time, but probably because I was so anxious for the current song to finally finish.
SWS bring four guests onto Feel, but the only noticeable one is Machine Gun Kelly on “Alone”. Oh boy. I derided the album’s monotony but maybe it’s better than trying innovation; MGK’s guest verse is out of place and lyrically creepy. In fact, the less said about the lyrics on Feel, the better. It’s a combination of obnoxious bragging and Kellin whining about his life. I felt second-hand awkwardness listening to the staged phonecall at the start of “Congratulations”. It’s hard to take the song, or any of Feel, seriously. Sleeping With Sirens are sure to increase their teenage girl following in droves, but any fans of quality music should steer clear of this unfortunate release.