Armor For Sleep
The Rain Museum


3.5
great

Review

by ConcubinaryCode USER (20 Reviews)
September 17th, 2022 | 25 replies


Release Date: 09/09/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: What To Do When You Aren't Dead

It's been 15 years, for the once celebrated pop punk/emo hybrid band, to have something for the masses to chew on; even a bit longer since they were culturally relevant. Their sophomore album, What To Do When You Are Dead, featured their well-known hit "Car Underwater" which appropriately kicked off the thematic album of what comes after you die. This single song catupulted them to the top of many playlists you'd find associated with Taking Back Sunday or Saosin. I wouldn't say the afterlife narrative was too compelling overall personally, but the lyrics and vocal performance did offer up some compelling hooks to latch onto despite the bloat. The follow-up album, Smile For Them, had some loose connotations to celebrity culture and was overall a decent attempt at a successor, serving the same type of emo energy the scene was bursting at the seams with in the early/mid 2000's. This album was ultimately their last before the long hiatus and while it did fine for them, it wasn't as big as their 2005 hit. I'd largely attribute the this to the lack of anything to really stick with the listener, something that was often recited by critics back in the day. The songwriting just lacked a draw and the attention they had before dissipated.

The Rain Museum does suffer some of the same problems the band has always had, but it also has some bright moments that shine with some of their best work. Armor for Sleep trade in the poppier emo sound of their youth for a more subdued dreamy rock direction, kinda reminiscent of Anberlin or Circa Survive (although AfS don't really reach their pedigree). The music has improved overall with more dynamic songwriting, they do still have a bit of an edge in their music but it's more to accent moments with a bit of intensity as not to lull the listener to sleep. It's not uncommon for dreamy strumming to lead into a soaring chorus lead by Ben Jorgensen, his voice adopting a smoother quality compared to the anxious cries of his earlier work. Some songs still miss, like "Rather Drown" or "Chasing Rainbows", harboring a more repetitive structure that don't really bring the music to life and slogs along. I also think it was a bit of a mistake to open the album with a pretty meandering instrumental track, especially when "Car Underwater" hits you right out the gate. "How Far Apart" is one of the stronger songs here and would've been terrific for starting off the album, I don't find the instrumental track very instrumental to the album.

I don't know if Armor for Sleep are back for good, but the album is welcome and evidence they're capable of writing more than a few anthematic songs about dying. It's a departure from their established sound but still retains the heart from those early albums still beats. The penchant for upbeat and fun choruses, that sense of wry wit bleeding through the lyrics, and competent, catchy music. I'm not confident The Rain Museum will bring back anyone that's written the band off beforehand, but it is great to see the band experience their own life after death



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user ratings (53)
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
ConcubinaryCode
September 17th 2022


6607 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

If anyone is looking for the deeper cuts on this I recommend: How Far Apart, World Burn Down, Whatever (who cares), and Tomorrow Faded Away.

foxblood
September 17th 2022


10882 Comments


nice! will listen at some point.

veninblazer
September 17th 2022


13121 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

So happy this has a review now, this has been my vibe for the last week.

Digging: Armor For Sleep - The Rain Museum

ConcubinaryCode
September 17th 2022


6607 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, I enjoy it. Comeback albums naturally have a higher demand for quality but I'd only heard car underwater beforehand so when I heard some of the singles prior to this I gave it a chance and thought it was pretty sweet. I still have to listen to their debut but their other two albums are also pretty good as well but I think the sound they chased on this works more for them. Really carefree and easy listening and I see a lot of old fans like it too which is cool.

Crawl
September 17th 2022


2905 Comments


I don't get it sadly. I generally like mid 00s post HxC/emo, but this thing is just pretty annoyong to me, particularly the vocals.

veninblazer
September 17th 2022


13121 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Not sure what people hate about the vocals, they've always sounded like this. Also I disagree about the opener, but maybe that's just because I always love dreamy instrumental intros.

Crawl
September 17th 2022


2905 Comments


Think they were a bit less whiny on WtDWYD. But maybe not, and I just didn't mind them that much because of some great hooks, which are lacking on this one.


veninblazer
September 17th 2022


13121 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Who knows. And i dont agree on the hooks being "lacking" because for like a week i had basically every hook on this album stuck in my head.

ConcubinaryCode
September 17th 2022


6607 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I actually think he's less whiny here.

veninblazer
September 18th 2022


13121 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Either way, WTDWYAD is 5 stars from me and this came closer than I expected.

Ecnalzen
September 18th 2022


11438 Comments


I enjoy the afterlife instructions album but I have never listened to anything else from these guys

veninblazer
September 18th 2022


13121 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

i'd give this a shot and go back and jam Dream to Make Believe then. Both great.

Hopelust
September 19th 2022


3585 Comments


Fucking dopeeee

dbizzles
September 19th 2022


15065 Comments


This is pretty decent so far, but I'm about 5 songs in and everything sounds a bit samey.

dbizzles
September 19th 2022


15065 Comments


Ended up liking it enough, thinking it will have replay value too. Good review.

ConcubinaryCode
September 20th 2022


6607 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Oh dang, first feature! thanks guys, I was worried my review really wasn't thorough enough so it's cool to see it was actually up to snuff. Glad to see people enjoying it for the most part. It can feel a bit homogenous but I think there's enough parts that stand out to save it from being too bad.



JayEnder
September 20th 2022


15654 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Solid return album but yeah this all sorta blends together. No bangers like Car Underwater or Truth About Heaven. Still a cool nostalgic jam and its nice to see them back.

Digging: The Wonder Years - The Hum Goes on Forever

Storm In A Teacup
September 20th 2022


40926 Comments


This has the same average as What To Do oh my

LightAndGlass
September 20th 2022


671 Comments


WTDWYAD is one of my all-time favorite albums but this is super underwhelming. I don't like how Ben sings on most of the verses and all the songs are really samey without a lot of the vocal and guitar-driven creativity they had on their previous releases.

I'll try to have it grow on me more but How Far Apart is really the only track that I feel like is worth going out of my way to listen to here.

dbizzles
September 20th 2022


15065 Comments


I think if you give it a couple more spins, you might start to enjoy it more. There's fun stuff going on with the guitar and textures that I didn't pick up on right away and the choruses stuck a lot better the second time around. It's not perfect, but it's better than I expected when I heard they were coming back. I'd say it's better than Smile for Them.



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