Published Mar 17, 2015With their latest album, Sleeping With Sirens have tried to appeal to every group that has ever taken an interest in their particular sound, creating a disorienting, cluttered set of songs that lacks any definitive direction. Over the years the band's sound has shifted from straightforward post-hardcore to something more accessible to a pop audience, but Madness is a muddled attempt at fusing both sounds within a single album.
Songs like "Kick Me" and "Better Off Dead" reflect the band's post-hardcore roots, channelling high-energy riffs and more varied vocal styles, incorporating aggression into hooky choruses. It's in these moments that the band sound the most unified. It's when they begin to dabble in pop territory that their sound falls apart.
Sandwiched between the faster-paced opening and closing songs are a collection of watered down pseudo-pop tracks, incorporating a number of monotonous drum samples, and electronic effects to draw attention to the production sheen that exists to make the songs more palatable to casual listeners. The spotlight is placed on Kellin Quinn's vocals in these songs, in which he utilizes his notoriously high-pitched — and nearly unlistenable — range. The rest of the band only seem to get a chance to shine when the loud, overdramatic choruses come in.
There are songs, however, such as the title track, that are more promising and give listeners an idea of the variety of sounds the band are capable of producing. Unfortunately, a lack of cohesion drains this album's momentum entirely. (Epitaph)