For Fans Of
An album does not need to be thematically or lyrically deep, musically intricate or instrumentally complex, overly technical or well-layered to be a good release. But sweet onions of Abbott, maybe some hints of those elements would have made Sleeping With Sirens‘ latest record a damn sight better!
The band’s latest album, ‘Gossip‘, continues the sonic trajectory but also the downward spiral in quality that 2015’s ‘Madness‘ first displayed two years prior. ‘Gossip‘ and it’s eleven tracks create a sonically well-polished yet rather uneventful and incredibly mediocre rock record from start to finish. Truthfully, while I’ve never once been a Sleeping With Sirens fan, the older material from their ‘With Ears to See and Eyes to Hear‘ and ‘Let’s Cheers to This‘ days at least carried some punch, some heart, and some goddamn energy with it! Whereas here in 2017, the band’s music all feels so much vapider and so much more watered down.
The album’s two key singles, ‘Cheers‘ and ‘Legends‘, are these musically simple, hollow and meaningless pop-rock anthems meant to inspire you yet they just sound like a band that’s almost bereft of all fresh ideas and has just cashed in on a couple hooks and some half-assed lyrical fluff aimed at edgy, wayward teens. That’s not inspiring, that’s just fucking depressing. And that’s what this whole album is like.
‘Gossip‘ is a record defined by some thinly veiled critiques of modern society’s technological addictions and ills (‘Empire To Ashes‘); marketed by these soulless, dime-a-dozen pop-rock tracks (‘Legends‘, ‘Cheers‘); a vastly poppier sense of sound and instrumentation but one that shows nearly zero character (the title track, ‘Trouble‘); broken up by the band channeling bigger, far more radio-friendly bands such as Fun (‘War‘); and is chock full of these ultimately bland rock tunes with little to offer the mind or soul (‘One Man Army‘, as one example). Also, ‘Gossip‘ has just got producer/engineer’s David Bendeth’s name and influence written all over it. Yes yes, I know that he, in fact, produced the damn thing, I’m just saying the guy has an unmistakable, world-class production sound to his work but tends to work on these big but lifeless rock records of late. (Well, at least he’s getting paid well).
That being said, there are, perhaps surprisingly, a couple of high points here. Towards the record’s end, ‘The Chase‘ actually has some life and passion to it with its driving rhythms, Kellin Quinn’s motivational lyrics, and these really tight staccato guitar riffs. Elsewhere, the record’s obligatory acoustic track, ‘I Need To Know‘ contains some actual emotion to it. It’s a personal, bittersweet acoustic track about remembering why you and your partner fell in love in the first place and how to move past and combat those later moments when a real lack of love becomes evident in the relationship. Yet these two indeed solid moments from ‘Gossip‘ are completely overwhelmed by the sheer mediocrity that surrounds and ensnares the pair.
Also, ‘Legends‘ is the official theme song for the 2018 Canadain Winter Olympics? Kill me right fucking now.
I’ve said all I need to say about ‘Gossip’ above. But hey, what the hell do I know? Sleeping With Sirens fans will lap this trash, even if they aren’t fully sold on the band’s sound or this record’s shallow nature. Straight up, and as unprofessional of me as it may seem, this album fucking blows.
2. Empire To Ashes
5. One Man Army
8. Hole In My Heart
9. I Need To Know
10. The Chase
‘Gossip’ is out now via Warner Bros.