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“Madness” seals the deal for Sleeping with Sirens

Abbey Lim, Entertainment Editors

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When Sleeping with Sirens released one of their latest albums, “Feel,” just a few years ago, it was speculated that the repetitive, could-care-less sound it encompassed was the direct result of label interference. Regardless of whether Rise Records, the band’s new label, was, in fact, the culprit behind the obscene sloppiness of their previous album, it seemed as though the band still felt pressure to uphold their infamous pop-punk reputation.
Fortunately, Sleeping With Sirens has redeemed themselves as masters of their own destiny once again. Shortly after signing their new label and releasing their aggressive new single, “Kick Me,” the band also announced their plans to release yet another album, mystifyingly dubbed “Madness,” on March 17, 2015.
Essentially, the cohesiveness of “Madness” dials back to the extraneous aspects of Sleeping With Sirens’ classic sound and focuses on formulaic, addictive songwriting. Each song seems expertly written to propel cell phones flashes and lighters into the air or arena sing-alongs at summer concerts. It makes for an album so engineered towards delivering hits that, although the album won’t impress everyone within its post-hardcore scene, the band is beginning to prove to many fans that they truly inhabit, and absolutely deserve success.
The textured guitar work from the band’s first two releases serve as a perfect Segway into the rest of the album, as “Madness” allows the band to drape itself in a vaguely-punk aesthetic. The tracks that stay true to this pop-punk feel hit impressively hard. For instance, “We Like It Loud” makes listeners think that it’s going to build itself up but instead blows right into the simple-but-catchy main riff, which becomes the highlighting adornment to the entire song. The aforementioned single, “Kick Me,” is an anthemic den of curse words directed at everyone who has ever made fun of its audience members; “Better Off Dead” has a particularly peppy chorus reminiscent of pop, hardcore bands like Conditions. The hard-hitting production by John Feldmann breathes life into the admittedly-predictable riffs and progressions.
But behind the signing and the energetic singles to push the idea of a heavier sound, the band also flexes its more pop-centric muscles to create some fairly compelling slower tracks as well. “The Strays” is a simple, yet immediate, song, but Quinn’s vocals sell it 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 featured on “Madness.” And, like any other album, there are still some duds– “Left Alone” and “November” are pleasant when they’re playing, but even after numerous listens, it’s still difficult to remember any outstanding lyrics or melodies.
Reading between the lines of the label switch and 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. The entire band is on the cover of the album, and the songs don’t stretch Quinn’s vocal range every time. This gives the songs some much needed breathing room and lets the other elements of the song bleed though more.
Overall, “Madness” is Sleeping With Sirens’ full entry into the world of radio rock and perhaps 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 body moving and lyrics stuck in your head, this should be right up your alley.

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