Nearly five years to the date exactly Sleeping With Sirens debuted and took the rock world by storm. Half a decade and four albums later and their name has become synonymous with success. Their meteoric rise has seen hundreds of thousands of albums sold and hundreds of stages rocked across the globe. At the top of their game and comfortably seated atop the alt rock scene SWS welcomes fans into their world with Madness.
The album erupts with “Kick Me.” A tumultuous uproar with all the makings of an anthemic hit. Best described as an angsty public service announcement for those who pass judgments from positions of ignorance. The rebellious spirit is spearheaded by front-man Kellin Quinn as he tells his detractors “I am more than you’ll ever be.”
As the madness progresses it changes gears and they hit a different stride. The high octane charge is tapered in favor of the dulcet sounds of “Fly.” An easy listening track complete with pop style melodies and catchy lyrics. You’re going to want to replay this one a lot, just make it easy on yourself and don’t fight it.
“Save Me A Spark” signals another change in direction. While this song in and of itself is well crafted, despite becoming bland halfway through, it’s biggest fault lies in feeling out of place this early on. Sure, the transitions have been fun but they are beginning to reduce the traction of an album looking to find solid footing moving forward. As if in response to my concern, the band redeems themselves with the back to back power ballads “Gold” and “The Strays”, in which Quinn sounds as terrific as ever. These serve as excellent transitions back into the explosive energy of tracks such as “Better Off Dead” and “We Like It Loud.”
While songs like “Heroine” may not be standard when considering standout tracks, this can be attributed to it’s simplicity by comparison. Lacking the power and instrumental skeleton of “Don’t Say Anything” for example. However what it lacks, it makes up for it in sheer individuality. The traces of electronic influence are reminiscent of Above & Beyond circa 2008. Considering that this is a rock album, the seamless manner in which the differing styles are fused prove to be one of the most rewarding and subtle surprises this album has to offer.
As this venture approaches an epic conclusion with “Parasite.” I am reminded that for all the crap and criticism Sleeping With Sirens receives, they have earned their distinction as one of the most talented bands in many years. In response to the censure of their disparagers they rose to the challenge, creating a standout album worthy of the hype. Perhaps there is something to be said regarding their departure from Rise Records resulting in the best work of their careers. But what is certain is that Madness is their best work thus far, and will be the launching point that propels them to new heights.
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