Review Summary: Post-hardcore comes with less suck and audible bass! *gasp
As of March 23rd, Florida's Sleeping With Sirens' debut album has been out. The first time I ever heard this band, I actually laughed out loud. My friend Josh showed me the title track "With Ears To See and Eyes To Hear." There is a distinct part in the song when Kellin sings his lines in rapid-fire fashion, and I laughed out loud from the cheesiness. Since then, they had caught my attention, but in a negative fashion. I later checked out their myspace that same night and gave them another chance, and let's just say I changed my mind. After listening to the old version of "The Bomb Dot Com" and "Big Gulps," I became a fan of this band.
Lets start off with the best thing about this band: the singing. Kellin Quinn showcases his ability throughout this album whether screaming, singing the love ballad "Let Love Bleed Red," or hitting insanely high notes in "If I'm James Dean" that no man with testicles intact should be able to do. Kellin single-handedly saves this album at some parts (Dance Gavin Dance's "Downtown Battle Mountain" anybody") and keeps this record from getting stale. Kellin's scream sounds unique in a way, although I am reminded by Danny of Drop Dead, Gorgeous. Kellin's natural ability to hit falsetto notes is a great asset to him as well. Kellin shines in "Let Love Bleed Red" "If I'm James Dean" and "With Ears To See."
The production on this album is great. In post-hardcore and basically any modern type of heavy music these days, production is way overdone and leaves the listener feeling like they were just handed an artificial experience (I.E. Isles & Glaciers). The production here is clear, concise, and not overdone. The bass is audible and in some parts, loud! The bassist is your average joe, however. The drumming on this record is nothing special either. Being a drummer, some of the songs are semi-interesting behind the kit though. He utilizes great off-time drumming in the breakdown of "With Ears To See" and even executes a few poly rolls in "Captain Tyin' Knots."
2 vocalists make guest appearances on this record: Dave from We Came As Romans (worst excuse of a band I've seen in a long time) and Aaron from Copeland (who broke up). Dave screams the generic ending in "Captain Tyin' Knots" and adds a hardcore feel that this album thankfully lacks. Dave is generic at best and helps in no way to the weak song. Aaron's part in "Let Love Bleed Red" is quite the opposite: his singing part is quite lower than Kellin's and compliments the song nicely.
Overall, this album doesn't bring much new to the table. Some of the guitar riffing is actually creative, and a few of the breakdowns are very start-and-stop in form, which is nice. This band has a lot of potential, and overall this record is a pretty fun listen. Kellin's vocal work is great, and the overall song writing of this band is surprisingly good for this being a debut CD. However, this record is only 10 songs and insanely short, and personally I was left wanting more. If you're into post-hardcore, you will definitely like this album, and if you aren't, who knows, you might be surprised as I was!
Great clean vocals
Very creative moments
Audible bass guitar
Can be a chore to get through from start to finish
2 filler tracks on an already short album
If I'm James Dean, Then You're Audrey Hepburn
The Bomb Dot Com Version 2.0
With Ears To See And Eyes To Hear
Songs to avoid:
Don't Fall Asleep At The Helm