Of Mice & Men
The Mo Club, Southampton, UK - 16/4
Sleeping With Sirens
If You Were A Movie, This Would Be Your Soundtrack
Written by: TL on 09/09/2012 17:41:42
Admittedly, I don't tend to be a fan when hard rocking bands opt to record acoustic versions of their songs, because the results tend to show that these bands do not have a very good understanding of the subtleties of acoustic arrangements, and the acoustic versions tend to come out like pale imitations of the original tracks that are only relevant to the most diehard fans of the band. Here however, is an exception to this:
Sleeping With Sirens are a band on the rise who can seemingly do no wrong at the moment, and if for no other reason, it is still worth listening to their new five track acoustic EP "If You Were A Movie, This Would Be Your Soundtrack" simply to hear the acoustic versions of "James Dean & Audrey Hepburn" and "With Ears To See And Eyes To Hear". Both songs were among the best on the album that shares its title with the latter of them, yet on there they were plagued as much as the rest of the album, by the band being influenced by the mindless breakdowns that were trending at the moment, with the best melodies constantly being interupted by glued in instances of heaviness.
On here however, both songs have undergone a proper Justin Timberlake treatment, emerging as classy, sexy acoustic cuts where the melodies of especially singer Kellin Quinn flow unhindered around the listener. And Quinn's performance here is exquisite, as he proves that he is as capable of the airy delicacies of singing in an acoustic setting, as he is reaching for strained, impossibly high cleans on the band's normal output. Listening to him is a delight, because among the wealth of high-pitched squealers appearing in the modern rock scene at the moment, few seem able to actually sing very elegantly, yet Quinn sounds like you could record him singing the phonebook over a metronome and it would still sound excellent, and in him the band has a definite star on the rise.
Between the acoustic remakes, the EP also contains three previously unreleased songs that see their first light of day in acoustic format. Each appear similarly as the remakes in arrangements driven by acoustic guitar and vocals and underscored subtly by occasions of hand clapping and classical stringwork (I'm guessing cello, maybe programmed, who knows these days). The verse in track two "Roger Rabbit" is pretty cool - it reminds me of the scene/pop of the The Higher or Marianas Trench - as is the bridge of track three "Stomach Tied In Knots". Track four "Don't You Ever Forget About Me" is meant to stand out with the inclusion of female backing vocals from one Jessica Ess, but while each of these three numbers are skillfully arranged, their melodies and refrains generally strike me as a bit sub par compared to what SWS have shown themselves capable of by now, and I must speculate if these are not some likely b-sides from one of the band's two full lengths.
Regardless, this is a tasty little listen, and as opposed to most acoustic experiments, a worthy release in its own right that even casual fans of Sleeping With Sirens should not be hesitate to pick up. It encouragingly shows us a previously unknown subtle side to a band that stepped up and demanded to be noticed with their last full length "Let's Cheers To This", and after hearing it, I for one would not mind an acoustic track or two as changes of pace on the next full Sleeping With Sirens album.
Download: James Dean & Audrey Hepburn, With Ears To See And Eyes To Hear
For The Fans Of: There For Tomorrow, The Higher, Marianas Trench
Release Date 26.06.2012