Sleeping With Sirens’ Gossip, A Charming But Homeless Effort
Sleeping With Sirens have been bubbling under the mainstream eye level for years. The popular alternative/metalcore band made their name that scene as the next evolution of screamo, with a dash of nu-metal and unmistakable vocals from singer Kellin Quinn. By making catchy, aggressive songs with a softer side they’ve created a sound unique to themselves yet still firmly planted in the genres which birthed them. Through their career, their sound has morphed slightly with each release, but everything up through 2015’s Madness felt consistent with what a Sleeping With Sirens album should sound like. On their major label debut, Gossip, Sirens have discarded their rulebook and created a sound that doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere.
Many bands’ career trajectories include a period of attempted mass market appeal. Everyone from Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance to Maroon 5 have drastically changed their sounds to get more attention from pop radio. There have been varying degrees of success, but Sirens attempt to grow beyond their humble alt-scene audience feels like nothing more than a half step. The aggression of their previous efforts is all but gone on Gossip and Quinn’s lyrics rely on hooky riffs more than ever. Normally making a more casual and catchy effort is refreshing, like, Walk the Moon’s Talking is Hard, or The Maine’s American Candy, but Gossip is completely sterile.
They are clearly trying to make their Danger Days without all the Rock Opera grandeur. Unfortunately, even that classic MCR album doesn’t have much of a place in 2017 radio. “Legends” has a decent chance to be used as a sports anthem for a year or two but it will never have the legs that MCR’s “SING” had. The other singles “Cheers”, “Trouble” and “Empire to Ashes” have a similar desperate vanilla quality to their production and composition. All of them are mid-tempo un-intrusive, digestible, pulp like the entire Skillet catalog. Its a color by numbers rock album that fails to shine as bright as their, previous, more focused, releases.
Quinn’s voice remains one of the most unique in the game. Singing higher than most female singers, he continues to push the limits of what a rock singer should sound like. His dynamic voice comes in handy on the slower Gossip tracks like “Closer” and “I Need to Know” with the latter sounding like a track Justin Beiber could have recorded. Honestly, through production, Gossip could have possibly been an amazing post hard-core album. Scale back the keys, tune down the guitars, add some screaming, speed up the tempos and you wouldn’t have to change a single lyric. Maybe the blame here goes to producer David Bendeth.
The album’s not bad, and if Gossip is your first taste of Sirens, you might dig it, a lot. As mentioned before, its got some good hooks and if rock music was cool enough for Pop radio these days, they might have had a chance to crack the top 50 sigles. So, with an album too soft for the hardcore audience, and too generic for the wider audience, who is this album for? I suppose old fans that are able to make the transition are still in play and anyone that might stumble upon a track or two might attach. Ultimately, Sleeping With Sirens hopped a fence hoping for greener grass only to find a neighborhood full of dance beats, auto-tune and no grass to be seen.