When was the last time the mainstream section of Victory Records released a groundbreaking, original or even, come to think of it, good CD. Being one of the flagship labels in "scene music" or as Rolling stone likes to call it "screamo" (though we all know that isn't true) Victory, ever since signing some of the first bands in the genre to make it big (Thursday, Taking Back Sunday) have followed the same pattern ever since. Almost all of their Pop-Punk/Post Hardcore bands are interchangeable. Victory has been signing bands like June and The Audition, who both make Taking Back Sunday-esque MySpace ready Pop-Punk ever since Taking Back Sunday made "Tell All Your Friends" their mega-popular, mega-good debut. Victory's newest hope at a new Taking Back Sunday/Thursday/Hawthorne Heights is a young band named The Sleeping. Something is different about The Sleeping though. Maybe it's that the Sleeping has a good band name. No, that's not it. Maybe it's that you actually hear the bass in The Sleeping's songs. That's not it either. Maybe it's that The Sleeping aren't horrible un-original, they aren't terrible and their singer doesn’t have a high flimsy whine for a voice.
Yeah, that sounds about right.
The Sleeping is..
Joseph Zizzo - drums & percussion
Douglas Robinson - vocals
Salvatore Mignano - bass guitar
Cameron Keym - guitars & keyboard
Granted, The Sleeping aren't entirely original. They take a lot of elements from Faux-Emo giants past. They scream at the emotional point, their guitarist plays a lot of muted distorted power chords and arpeggios and their drummer seems to worship the 'bass on one, snare on two' formula like a religion. (Of course even the most devote sin occasionally, like on the chorus to The Climb). The actual three members of The Sleeping who contribute to the instrumentation are quite good at what do, the guitarist, being the worst of the three, and the bassist being the best. The guitarist isn't anything special as far as the Post Hardcore scene goes; he's actually kind of bland. Most of the time he plays on a fairly standard, kind of aggravating, heavy on the mid, distortion tone. However, his best points come when he switches the over drive off, and plays a slightly affected clean tone on songs like The Big Breakdown and King of Hearts, the later of which features some nice electronic noodling and a giant "sing along" at the end.
The Sleeping's vocalist, Joseph Zizzo is a decent singer, nothing more, nothing less. In a time where you don't need to be able to sing well to sell records, Zizzo gets the job done. I would consider his voice to be a combination of the vocals from Thursday and Rise Against. He has a kind of almost whining quality but a deep, aggressive sounding voice, kind of like the vocalist in Say Anything. This makes the band sound all the more unique. The lyrics Zizzo sings manage not to sound whiny despite being about topics like heartbreak and love among others. His lyrics aren’t poetry, but they aren't Hawthorne Heights either. Usually he sings in easy to decipher metaphors and usually has a darker tint to the lyrics. An example from The Climb Follows
Originally Posted by The Climb
Marching in time I hear them call,
"how could you?"
Exploding words penetrating walls.
"How could you?"
i'd rather burn in hell alone."How could you?"
i'd rather feel tourtured alone.
someone save me.
The bassist is a whole different story. For a long time it has been tradition for the guitar to always be louder than the bass in the final mix. The Sleeping, like the rebel son of the family breaks this tradition. The majority of the time he's louder than the guitarist, and playing a completely different part. His tone is fairly warm, but at times almost seems distorted or effected. His playing works well on the mellow tracks and the "rocking" tracks equally well. Sometimes it's nice to actually hear the bass part instead of only being able to vaguely recognize a rumbling under My Chemical Romance's (celebrity name drops ftw) power chords. The Sleeping break out of Victory's mold (if ever so slightly) and over all, it's a change for the better, seeing as their guitarist isn’t the greatest.
All in all The Sleeping's second album (first on Victory Records) Questions and Answers is not a bad record. Its semi-original, requires more than the knowledge of how to play a fifth on a guitar to play and lyrically decent. The biggest flaw other than the relatively simple (and kind of bad toned) guitar playing is that the album may get boring after a while. There isn't too much variation in the music, but all in all The Sleeping have produced a good album.