Review Summary: Never sleep again.
It appears as though being original in the emo genre nowadays is hardly possible. Every possible trope, trick, cliché and creative solution has been explored, developed, digested and turned into a staple of the genre. So all anyone aspiring to pull through here can do is, instead of pushing the envelope, try to actively, cleverly and consciously explore its already visible edges and sides. Among other things, one could try to fuse the already existing boundaries of emo with similarly well-established boundaries of other genres. Forever Losing Sleep understood that and they decided to float freely with the instrumentation and song-writing natural for post-rock, visceral energy true to hardcore and general aesthetic as emo as it ever could be.
The opener “Esprit D' Escalier” can discourage anyone with its nagging, whiny nature that is unfortunately a regular feature on many acts of the sort. It is a slow-burning, barely engaging and disillusioning cut that for all of its flaws does do one good thing in the end, since it makes the following redeemer in face of “Twitch” all the more exciting and crushing. That track is the first to reveal the true colours album has to offer, which is only deepened by the most devastating and heart-breaking cut on the entire record, “Trophied”.
But unfortunately that maniacally engrossing magnitude of those songs is kept up only ever so often. Most songs on here have the means of becoming more grand and striking, but end up sounding like glorified versions of “Esprit D' Escalier”, which is –if nothing else –underwhelming. The title track seems like it is about to explode any second, but does that only vaguely towards the end and for a brief time. And while the whiny disorganisation drizzles out on later tracks, the damage has been done.
And that concludes it. It is strange to talk about this record, since so much of it is truly, deeply appealing from all sides, but there is just such a peculiar stylistic dissonance, which more or less drowns all the emotional weight. This could have been a gorgeous hard-hitting record, but the band's persistent insistence on slower, blander moments might have cost the album its appeal. Like I said, in emo you have to explore all the edges of the given envelope. Forever Losing Sleep were so keen on exploring them all that in the end they ended up with a vague knowledge of each, but a masterful understanding on none. Still better than only one.