Sleeping With Sirens
Madness


3.0
good

Review

by paradox1216 EMERITUS
March 19th, 2015 | 78 replies


Release Date: 03/17/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: At worst, uneventful. At best, pretty damn energetic.

When Sleeping with Sirens released “Feel” a couple of years ago, I assumed that the messy and schizophrenic sound it had (along with the unnecessary number of cameos and guest appearances) was the direct result of label interference, given that Rise Records is known for such inanity. The band’s exodus from the label last year seemed to confirm this. For any other group, a simple label switch would be an uneventful side note – but SWS created a true star for Rise, who made sure lead vocalist and professional heartthrob Kellin Quinn was always in the spotlight for their thousands upon thousands of fans to eat up, creating things like $100+ VIP tour packages that let you have the privilege of simply taking a photo with the man.

But in retrospect, a band that seemed as in control of their own destiny as SWS did when they signed with Epitaph and released the decidedly aggressive “Kick Me” couldn’t have been too far removed from the process of writing their own material or deciding the influences it contained. Which makes the cohesiveness of “Madness” even more satisfying; it dials back the extraneous aspects of their sound and focuses on formulaic, addictive songwriting.

Reading between the lines of the label switch and the tone of the band’s new singles and music videos leads to an interesting revelation – Sleeping With Sirens is tired of being known as Kellin Quinn and The Rest of Those Guys. For one, the entire band is on the cover of the album, and the songs don’t stretch Quinn’s vocal range every time, which gives the songs some much needed breathing room and lets the other elements of the song bleed though more. The textured guitar work from the band’s first two releases is long gone, as “Madness” sees the band drape itself in a vaguely punk aesthetic. The tracks that stay true to this hit impressively hard: “We Like It Loud” makes you think it’s going to build itself up but instead blows right into the simple-but-catchy main riff, because it knows teenagers like the money shot as quick as possible; the aforementioned “Kick Me” is an anthemic den of curse words directed at everyone who’s ever made fun of the target audience; and “Better Off Dead” has a particularly peppy chorus reminiscent of pop hardcore bands like Conditions. The hard-hitting production by John Feldmann breathes a ton of life into the admittedly predictable riffs and progressions.

But behind the Epitaph signing and the energetic singles to push the idea of a heavier sound, the band also flexes its pop muscles to create some fairly compelling slower tracks as well. “The Strays” is a fairly simple and immediate song, but Kellin’s singing sells it hard enough to ensure it doesn’t leave your head. “Fly” takes a few listens for the hooks to really kick in, but it’s a varied and well-composed song that features a bit more virtuosity in the vocals than most of the other songs here. There are some duds – “Left Alone” and “November” are pleasant when they’re playing but after numerous listens I still couldn’t recall any melodies from them.

The lyrical content is probably what will divide most of this album’s listeners. When I first heard “Kick Me”, I appreciated the intensity but cringed at the choice of wording (“You don’t know ***, ***, ***/Don’t know a goddamn thing about me”). After multiple listens it got easier to condone, but it’s not poetry by any means. Maybe the point is that it’s childish nonsense, but it doesn’t stop it from being childish nonsense. Luckily, most of the album fares much better – the topics are nothing imaginative, but bluntness without the snark that usually comes with it is a bit refreshing. “We Like It Loud” is a bit ironic, in that it talks about how the band will never “give in” and become radio music (“Sell us the world but we ain’t selling out” and “No don’t wanna hear another song on the radio pumpin’ through my stereo now”). It may be the heaviest song on the record, and it’s obviously a song about why they left their former label, but given that it’s a track from their most accessible and radio-ready album yet, Kellin seems to be struggling with a bit of cognitive dissonance. The best lyrics come from the final track on the record, “Don’t Say Anything”, which features Kellin talking to a special lady who’s phoned him in the middle of the night and is so emotionally burnt that she can’t even bring herself to speak. It’s a sweet track, and the fact that it’s a regularly paced song and not a ballad keeps it from becoming too cheesy. And there’s even a possible reference to ”The Fault In Our Stars” that the teenies are sure to like – Kellin talks about how he hates “the space between us”, “the grey unknown” that they find themselves in when they talk on the phone. I think addressing the disconnect in understanding that humans experience when they resort to using technology to communicate is about the headiest subject that Sleeping With Sirens will ever address, so that’s worth a penny or two.

Overall, “Madness” is Sleeping With Sirens’ full entry into the world of radio rock, and perhaps is intended to initiate a different form of stardom than they’ve previously experienced. They’ve rejected the world of Joey Sturgis and Warped Tour and attempted to play down the fame of their biggest member, but the careful way this album was crafted suggests an ambition higher than ever before. It won’t hold up for too many plays and it doesn’t quite have the charm or creativity of “Let’s Cheers To This”, but if you’re looking for an easy listen that will get your head nodding and your mouth moving, this should be right up your alley.



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user ratings (234)
Chart.
2.2
poor
other reviews of this album
TheCalebRobinson (4)
A surprising step forward for Sleeping With Sirens....



Comments:Add a Comment 
beachdude
March 19th 2015


846 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Good review, although I don't think this is as enjoyable as you make it out to be. I can only remember MAYBE three of the songs because the whole thing is so damn generic.

paradox1216
Emeritus
March 19th 2015


730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I totally understand dude, there's not much originality here at all. I'm sure I got a lot more out of this than most people will be able to.

paradox1216
Emeritus
March 19th 2015


730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this probably reads more like a 3.5, but it's really too fleeting to reach that level.

Tunaboy45
March 19th 2015


16708 Comments


The most anticipated album of 2015 finally dropped.

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
March 19th 2015


10511 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Really impressive review. Very good job, pos'd.



I doubt I'd enjoy this. I didn't like feel, but also didn't hate it as much as some. If Kick Me is really one of the better songs then I don't have high hopes

cryptside
March 19th 2015


2397 Comments


Nice review man, haven't kept up with these guys at all. I did enjoy their debut a reasonable amount. How far away are they from that sound here?

Lethean
March 19th 2015


1487 Comments


this probably rules

paradox1216
Emeritus
March 19th 2015


730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I would say theyre considerably far away. But it still has Kellin and it still has a post-hardcore vibe so its in the same ballpark. Theyre very different albums though.



Check out their second album if you want a better take on their first album.

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
March 19th 2015


10511 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Their second album and that acoustic ep are the only good things theyve done imo

paradox1216
Emeritus
March 19th 2015


730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Definitely the best, at least

Parap
March 19th 2015


11 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

The only song I liked was the title track

MattTD
March 19th 2015


678 Comments


The worst part of going to Reading Fest last year for me was having to watch these guys because they were so bloody boring.

Still, a good review. Have a pos.

paradox1216
Emeritus
March 19th 2015


730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks for the good feedback guys, I definitely tried a bit harder on this review =3



also I love the profile pic MattTD

trackbytrackreviews
March 19th 2015


3377 Comments


I was the one who added this album to the database and even I had forgotten about it

ziyaadalawie
March 20th 2015


6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

best review of madness on the internet, was waiting for this



DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2015


15201 Comments


This band is dreadful. Good rev though.

henryChinaski
March 20th 2015


4149 Comments


Checking this out now. Some catchy tunes, but overall 2.5 or 3.0 for me too. Their second album was decent. Never checked out Feel though apart from the singles. Nice write-up!

Insurrection
March 20th 2015


24717 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

feel was horrific. dunno if i should bother with this

Digging: Dark Tranquillity - Fiction

paradox1216
Emeritus
March 20th 2015


730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this is so so much better than feel

ATTA
March 20th 2015


131 Comments


Great review, but this direction that Sleeping With Sirens is heading, is just a step backwards. Still have respect for these guys, they are chill, but this album is tedious.



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