Review Summary: A debut album from a now growing popular band that many people of different genres should give a shot.The Sleeping
is during "Believe What We Tell You"
Cameron Keym - Guitars, Keyboard
Salvatore Mignano - Bass
Douglas Robinson - Vocals
Joseph Zizzo - Drums, percussion
Original Release Date: July 13, 2004
Produced by Michael Birnbaum & Chris Bittner
I know how this scene works and it feels like being from STRONG ISLAND gives you a free ticket to stardom, or atleast being a popular band to "cool" kids. I truly believe that some bands take the strong music scene here for granted and others really pay their dues. Just as it looked like all hope was lost and every band was becoming faded carbon copies of one another, Long Island‘s latest export The Sleeping comes along to shake things up and insert sincerity and originality back into underground rock. These four dudes are literally only 3 towns over from me and everytime they come back home they always seem so happy to be where they are. The Sleeping formed in/around Long Island, NY in 2003, with founding members Salvatore Mignano (bass) and Cameron Keym (guitar) wanting to try something new and different from their days in the band SkyCameFalling. This band is an interesting hybrid of combining alot of different sounds together. Some bands fail at this to fit for a marketing campaign, and other bands just know how to mix and match. The Sleeping finds itself in a pop-punk spectrum with alot of post-hardcore qualities but it doesn't defeat some modern day indie and post-rock feelings through there music. I often regard there first album "Believe What We Tell You" a good mold of music before they really got out there...
The album is very concentrated on friends, ex's, touring, and the everyday struggles of many in an age range. The album starts off with "Sunday Matinee (Reel to Reel)" which introduces with a very distinct pop-punk guitar sound. As the vocals fill in the listener is swelling around Douglas Robinsons sincere singing ability. By the prechorus the other spectrum of what feels like frustrated screams are displayed. The bass is present filling the low end voids and the guitar is often swirling around you racing up the fretboard. The title track "Believe What We Tell You" takes a more mainstream approach to the sound but still doesn't disappoint. The lyrics seem to tell the story of someone reading through old nostalgia like journalism. "Stories and pages blended in your bookmarks of memories and cover-ups condense us until we burn away." The guitar still holds its hard edged pop-punk sound and the drums crash and roll during the chorus. The song by the 2 and a half minute mark slows down dramatically and turns into almost a cafe lounge band with slow grooving bass and percussion. On going with the outro the music begins to speed up and the vocals even have a solo along with the drummer. The transition is beautiful, melodic, and most importantly different. It doesn't leave the listener in the dust but gives him a good diversity of sounds. "Funus-Eris" has lyrics that could be related in many different ways. As much as I believe it is about a kid who's having personal dilemmas, it could be related to touring as well. The guitar really sounds out in a song like this because the song wasn't like the previous and really has an Incubus - "Make Yourself" feeling to it. I love the atmosphere the bass and guitar intertwining create and the drums/percussion fills such a valuable void. Into the first minute of the song the guitar really takes you off on a gritty dual humbucking clean tone while the vocals create a picture for the listener.
The Big Breakdown Day songs at the 5th and 6th slot of the album are enough of a reason to buy the album. I mean if you like these songs you'll probably like alot of the other songs on this album but these songs truly stand apart from the rest of the game. "Day 1" starts off with a drum count and the guitar immediately swells in. The lyrics in this song are catchy, sincere, and thoughtful. The chorus riff on the guitar is a great hook with it's frentic palm mute to swelling notes. Then by the interlude is where the guitar goes out there and really shines. The song itself just grows in intensity and really makes you want to move around. When it reaches its climax... it slows down and the bass grooves right behind the same riffs from the beginning with different variations and a more jazzy feeling to it. "Day 2" really puts itself from the others and makes the band feel mature about its sound. "Day 1" blends right into "Day 2" and it's easy to confuse it as the same song but "Day 2" does indeed feel like an after thought from the story that "Day 1" creates. The music is once again a growing sensation until it reaches an almost orgasm with the lyrics put in such a desperate voice: "I am not okay".
It's a hard act to follow but "If Your Heart Was Broken..." fails to follow. Okay, well it doesn't fail completely but it's kind of a let down. I'm all for experimenting your sound but here it was almost at the sake of annoyance. The song starts off with what seems like a "party" somewhere with alot of chatter and gibber but the talking is so loud and obnoxious it really takes away from the musicianship taking place.
Then a group of girls repeats the title of the song over and over until it's just plain rediculous. Then the lead vocalist falls in with them, and the music really turns into an almost metalcore like song. The lead singers scream is alot better but once again it feels secondary to the choir girls... The song just had so much potential...
"One Flight One Flame" puts the band back in the same way it was with tracks 2, 3, 4, a pop-punk type. The song follows all of the rules that go with the genre and the vocals do its soft;loud contrast within verses to choruses. The song is allright but it doesn't exactly stand up and out. "Broadcast Silence" I liked alot better with it's post rock feeling to it. I really enjoyed the guitar work throughout the whole song but the chorus is so cheesy to this song and I just wish I could skip over it each time. "Detonation: Paradise" has a faster and heavier pace set to it. This is a much better attempt to the whole hardcore thing then "If Your Heart Was Broken" and maybe that's just because it isn't the same line repeated over and over. In all seriousness the song isn't really that hardcore but has some qualities to it and stands out from the other songs in diversity. "15 on the Freeway" goes back to the whole pop-punk spectrum feeling with strumming octave chords and soothing verses. By this point the bands musicianship has to atleast catch your ear a tad. "Fleet" is a nice bow out, with alot of the other songs within it. The song starts off at a fast pace and really would sound good in a live environment.
1. Tune In - Filler
2. Sunday Matinee (Reel to Reel) - 8/10
3. Believe What We Tell You - 9/10
4. Funus-Eris - 9/10
5. Big Breakdown-Day 1 - 10/10
6. Big Breakdown-Day 2 - 10/10
7. If Your Heart Was Broken...You Would Be Dead - 6/10
8. One Flight One Flame - 7/10
9. Broadcast Silence - 8/10
10. Detonation: Paradise - 8/10
11. 15 on the Freeway - 8/10
12. Fleet - 9/10
13. Tune Out - Filler
+ Great Vocal Work
+ Different and Intriguing Musicianship
- The album after the breakdown days kind of veers off...
- Lyrics could be corny
- Some elements in the music could feel out of place
Much sounds like Hopesfall - A Types, and other songs could sound like The Movielife (RIP) and others fall in with Emery. It's pretty diverse and a catchy debut for a band...