The Sleeping

The Big Deep

Written by: TL on 21/10/2010 19:43:03

Ever since hearing "Don't Hold Back" on Guitar Hero II, I've had the distinct feeling that Long Island-based quintet The Sleeping are the kind of cool band that I should be a fan of. Having listened to the last two of their albums however, "Questions And Answers" and "What It Takes", I'm continually having trouble taking other songs to heart than "Don't Hold Back" and "You'll Be A Corpse Before Your Time". Still, The Sleeping's sound strikes me as one that's too cool to pass up on, so I've happily been listening to their fourth LP "The Big Deep" to see if it would finally win me entirely over.

The reason it's easy for me to feel like the band sounds cool is that their style is of a very distinct, hard-to-reference kind. Resting on one leg in post-hardcore and another in alternative rocks, The Sleeping cleverly mix guitar and synth effects into an atmospheric landscape that feels like it belongs at the bottom of a big metropolitan city. On top of the instruments, singer Douglas Robinson sings/belts/croons in a rugged manner, mainly comparable to Max Bemis (Say Anything) except Robinson's delivery isn't as charismatic and easily interpreted as Bemis'.

Maybe that's why I'm still having trouble setting myself up for a knock-out delivered by the band's songs, even here on "The Big Deep". On more occasions than I can count, I find myself thinking, "wow, what they did there was so special and atmospheric" only to wait in vain for the mood to climax in something that will nest itself in my mind. It's not that the "Big Deep"-songs are not memorable, as especially the middle triplet, "Retiring Spies", "Deafening The UK" and "The Phantom Of Darker Clouds" make themselves easy to sing along to after a handful of listens, its just that things all too seldom manifest into moments that truly electrify you, like the guitar line and chorus of "Don't Hold Back" did, or like the organ-backed break of "You'll Be A Corpse Before Your Time" did.

Nevertheless, while I'm still not blown over with amazement, "The Big Deep" is growing on me with each extra listen, and while it doesn't feel like the necessary revelation of excellence to land itself a top grade, it just has a sense of texture, of poise, of class and of identity, that easily elevates it above the grades in the middle of our scale. Plainly speaking, I hear a lot of stuff reviewing for Rockfreaks.net, and this is better than most of it, hence I will recommend it, especially if you're the type who really likes bands that don't sound like anyone else. Maybe if you get into it, you can explain to me what I'm not hearing?

Download: Retiring Spies (Change Your Life), Deafening The UK, The Phantom Of Darker Clouds
For The Fans Of: Say Anything, Emery, Thrice, Thursday
Listen: myspace.com/thesleeping

Release Date 28.09.2010
Victory/One Day Savior

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