Review: Sleeping With Sirens, ‘Feel’

Sleeping With Sirens, Feel © Rise

Sleeping With Sirens • Feel • Rise Records • US Release Date: June 4, 2013

One thing that is appreciated from artists is moxie.  ‘Moxie’ can also be polarizing (take the ever controversial Kanye West for example), but even so, it definitely makes following a band or a solo artist more exciting.  Post-hardcore band Sleeping With Sirens definitely possess that feisty edginess, or better yet ‘they have balls’.  Frontman Kellin Quinn does for sure, exhibiting one of the more fascinating and flexible voices I’ve heard in some time.  You talk about some major extended tenor vocals going on from a twenty-six year old – the man has some ill range. I don’t know if I’d say Feel as an album extends that same sort of flexibility, but it has its moments if nothing else.  Sure, unapologetic screaming laden with some rebellious f-bombs and full-throttle guitars isn’t for everybody, but in moderate doses, it bodes well for Sleeping With Sirens.

Feel” opens the effort solidly, though not exceptionally per se.  For a more casual listener, things are a bit ‘clunky’ at first, but as the track progresses, it evolves into a well-rounded number.  Aside from not ‘knocking it out of the park’ from a first impression standpoint, Kellin Quinn’s vocals are a bit covered by the heaviness of guitars during the verse. Despite this rub, Quinn delivers a strong chorus that cuts through with ease: “And I feel / I feel so alive again.”

Here We Go” has more ‘spunk’ than “Feel”, with Quinn delivering pointed lyrics such as “I will never be fine, with letting you ruin everything / I will never f*cking follow your lead…” The track is no ‘tour de force’, but the energy (and ‘cojones’) carries great weight in itself.

Free Now” has more ‘depth’ than the opening duo.  The song is reflective and the tempo is more relaxed without being ‘slow’.  “I am free now / free to live without my fears / I believe now / there’s a reason why I’m here / It’s to try and do good / it’s to try and do better…” Those are meaningful lyrics right there.  And if those didn’t do it, look to the bridge in which Quinn ‘has a dream’  he hopes becomes fulfilled: “And we dream of the day, when our kids can play / in the streets with no fear of them being taken away…”

Yeah the seriousness of “Free Now” is nice, but Sleeping With Sirens needed more emo-sensibility, so they follow-up with “Alone”.  No one really does want to die ‘alone’, and SWS make sure they emphasize this point on the chorus.  To match their twentysomething angst, the band calls on Mr. Lace Up MGK to deliver a verse.  It’s not his best, but the Cleveland MC is emotional enough (“Leave me? / How the f*ck you gonna leave me / when I’m the one that’s on TV / with these girls screaming…”).  Rock on.

Shayley Bourget guests on “I’ll Take You There”, a ‘slower’ cut contextually speaking – yes that means it’s not really slow.  Like most of the effort, its good/solid without breaking through the tape to the winner’s circle. No fears, atonement comes via “The Best There Ever Was” (featuring Fronz).  And really, you know if a song opens with an aggressive salvo like “Don’t f*ck with us”, this is the cut you’ve been waiting for, particularly if you’re a teen or in your roaring twenties.  In the name of rock-n-roll, regardless of sub-genre/styles, Sleeping With Sirens go ‘all in’.

In fact, they seem hella pissed: “I’ve got a short fuse / so don’t you go p-p-p-push it man / don’t f*ck with me / you better back off while you can…” Yeah, I won’t be messin’ with y’all.  If that wasn’t enough, there is a some pessimistic-optimism during the bridge:  “there’ll be a million motherf*ckers that are just like you / but if you keep it real / and you stay true / there’s nothing in this life that you can’t do.” Thanks, I think.

Low” has a tough act to follow, but handles the task pretty well.  “Tell me why did it take 26 years to figure out how to love / just to throw it all away…” Geez Kellin, I don’t know – can’t help you there buddy.  “Congratulations” (featuring Matty Mullins) and “Déjà Vu” do things up right.  On “Congratulations” the outspoken side of the band shines whether they’re “gonna give you hell” or they’re “…so sick of all this so-called / sh*tty music that you play / so could you please do us a favor / stay the f*ck out of our way….” Yep, point taken.  On “Déjà Vu”, being in love feels so good. Hey, “With my hands all over you / there’s nothing I can do / It’s like we’re having déjà, déjà vu.” With quick-paced, aggressive vocals,  Sleeping With Sirens are attheir best.

The Floridian band finishes up alright but don’t blow anything out of the water.  “These Things I’ve Done” is a ‘pedal to the metal’ track, seeming like one gargantuan, unbalanced adrenaline rush. “Sorry” is ‘apologetic’ and an emo band would have it, with Kellin Quinn swearing “…I will be better than before…” “Satellites” is the best of the closing trio, featuring a particularly nicely written refrain: “So here we are / we’re waiting for a fall / and on the radio they’re calling on satellites / like they’re going to save us all / so here we are / I guess I’m praying after all / we’re calling all, calling all satellites.”  Solid enough closer.

Ultimately, Feel does ‘feel’ good, if not ‘exceptionally’ great.  The standouts shine and most of the role playing cuts get the job done with minor, nitpicks flaws, but the effort never resounds as a masterpiece.  While it may not be the year’s preeminent rock effort, Sleeping With Sirens show ample promise here, definitely knowing how to rock out with their… they know how to rock, we’ll leave it at that!

Sleeping With Sirens are:  Kellin Quinn (vocals); Jesse Lawson (guitar); Jack Fowler (guitar); Justin Hills (bass); Gabe Barham (drums)

Album Producer:  Cameron Mizell

Favorites: “Free Now”; “The Best There Ever Was”; “Congratulations”; “Déjà Vu”

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