Barely a year removed from their Rise debut With Ears to See and Eyes to Hear, Sleeping with Sirens is on the cusp of something with their sophomore full-length Let’s Cheers to This. Adapting more of a ‘draw outside the lines’ approach to the heavily watered down and imitable muck that is now post-hardcore, the boys in SWS play to their strengths and accentuate the high notes in a solid batch of catchy, yet occasionally heavy jams that further validates their constantly growing following.
Two things shine through hard on this record: addicting songwriting and vocalist Kellin Quinn’s sultry voice. There a quite a few dudes grinding out higher register-laden vocals these days, but Quinn adds another dimension through the sporadic use of a gruff undertone of his clean voice. Yet, from the echoey whoa-ohs leading off this record, we know we are in for a bit of a ride vocally. His sugary vocals flex the high notes with ease, even if the production makes it almost a little too slick for SWS’ own good. Toss in the occasional scream, which are a bit on the flat side, and you get a pretty interesting album vocally.
But with so many people doing nearly the same thing vocally, then the music should set this album apart from everyone else. Yes and no. After one listen, I wanted this album to be heavier. After several more listens, the hesitation to go the heavy route actually plays into the favor of the songwriting. Sure, there are barnburning moments to be had here, such as the relentless “Four Corners and Two Sides” and its crunching introduction, but Let’s Cheers to This ultimately feels like Of Mice & Men for kids who secretly wished they covered songs by The Summer Set – and that really isn’t a bad thing. While at the core these songs tend to be on the poppy side, Sleeping with Sirens add enough flair in the key of heavy to not make it incredibly blunt and still keep those tuned in for breakdowns and palm-muting that gets tastefully added at the right moments. Tracks like “If You Can’t Hang” showcase flawlessly placed ripples of crunching guitars woven with soaring vocals and swirling melodies, making this particular track one of the best of the bunch.
That isn’t to say this album is perfect. The problem with the formula bending that goes on in Let’s Cheers to This is that it tends to go a bit flat. “Postcards and Polaroids” and “Who Are You Now” follow a more straightforward path, bolstering the accessibility but toning down the strength of the songwriting. Sleeping with Sirens sound at their best when the heaviness isn’t toned up too high, but the songwriting isn’t toned down either.
In the end, there is a lot of promise and enjoyment to be had with this record. It might not be the best thing since sliced bread, but Sleeping with Sirens have found a solid balance between all the things they seem to want to do. If they can tweak it just slightly, they should have something incredible the next time around.
2. If You Can't Hang
3. Who Are You Now
4. Four Corners and Two Sides
5. A Trophy Father's Trophy Son
7. Tally It Up, Settle the Score
8. Your Nickel Ain't Worth My Dime
9. Postcards and Polaroids
10. All My Heart
11. Let's Cheers to This
Sleeping with Sirens is an American post-hardcore band from Orlando, [placefromed]Florida[/placeformed] currently residing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, formed in 2009 by members of For All We Know, Broadway and We Are Defiance. The band is currently signed to Rise Records and has released one full-length album, With Ears to See and Eyes to Hear. The album debuted at number 7 on Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart, and at number 36 on Top Independent Albums. They announced on December 7, 2010 that their new album is planned to be released in mid-2011. ... read more