Sleepwave – Broken Compass


Artist

Album

Broken Compass

Label

Epitaph Records

Year

2014

For Fans Of

Thrice - Filter - Pierce The Veil

Summary

A rather repetitive, but solid debut from Sleepwave.

Rating

70 / 100

Ex-Underoath frontman Spencer Chamberlain and guitarist/keyboardist Stephen Bowman bring us Sleepwave’s debut release, ‘Broken Compass‘.With a sound that mixes in the accessible post-hardcore sound of Pierce The Veil, the authentic and DIY attitude of Thrice, with the groove of FilterSleepwave have really crafted out a tight, catchy sound, and are at most times, a far cry from the singer’s previous band. Though this is a good and a bad thing.

The good thing about this record is that it’s a whole musical new path for Chamberlain, and it’ll be great to see what he and the band do next. The bad part about this album though? It just isn’t Underoath, and it lacks the sheer power and spine-tingling nature of their music, and while the frontman may never want for Sleepwave to be like his former endeavours, one can’t help but feel a little underwhelmed by this new release.

Regardless, ‘Broken Compass‘ is a real musical release. Real in the sense of it being, well, real. The band worked with internationally renowned producer, David Brendith (whose rap sheet includes Paramore, All Time Low, and of course, Underoath). Apart from the sonic strength here, the musical ability of this relatively new band is strong too. The catchy riffs and choruses, the tight drumming, but what will most likely be the elephant in the room for most fans will be Chamberlain’s vocal ability. 99% of the time, Chamberlain sticks to singing, which he does do a pretty good job at. There are only a handful of short moments when his signature scream comes into play (‘Through The Looking Glass‘ for example) but it’s never situated in the foreground of the mix, rather, it’s always pushed into the back. Maybe that’s to uphold the rock n’ roll feel of the full-length, but it couldn’t hurt to go full metal at one point, could it…?

It’s not just all about his vocals, the guitars and drums however. ‘Whole Again‘ and ‘Hold Up My Head‘ make strong use of synthesizers and electronica moments. While lead single, ‘The Wolf‘, carries more mainstream tendencies. Now this is the main issue with ‘Broken Compass‘, all of the choruses in these songs just sound too similar. The eleven tracks, which help the album clock in around 40 minutes, just don’t really differentiate enough and ultimately, ‘Broken Compass‘ just lacks the variety and the vast impact that the last Underoath releases delivered.

Conclusion

Were Sleepwave ever going to be as good as Underoath? Probably not. However, it’s probably unfair to compare the two. It’s apples and oranges. This is still a solid album, and one that bodes well for the future of this new band.

Tracklisting

Paper Planes

Rock and Roll is Dead And So Am I

Inner Body Revolt

The Wolf

Hold Up My Head

Disgusted: Disguised

Replace Me

Whole Again

Repeat Routine

Through The Looking Glass

Broken Compass

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