The Sleeping

Believe What We Tell You (Reissue)

Written by: PP on 20/03/2007 17:16:23

It seems to be cool, trendy, 'in' or whatever to hate Victory Records these days. What most people dissing the label forget that for every mediocre act they house, there's one equally great in their own niche. Unfortunately reissues like this one, The Sleeping's debut album "Believe What We Tell You" (originally released on One Day Savior), won't help clear the reputation of the label and will incite some hate from me too. After all, if you've bought the record once, why would you buy it again just for two extra demo tracks and an amateurish DVD? But all the same this gives me a good reason to review one of the essential emo albums that didn't get reviewed around its original release three years ago.

Back then, The Sleeping was one of the bands to be signed by Victory around the first steps of emo rock breaching to mainstream with assistance of Hawthorne Heights' debut album in the same year. It's also easy to see the similarities between these two bands; the same pseudo-heavy breakdowns and the occasional restrained screams - those that make you think the screamer needs some practice - are used here too, and the clean vocals are ever so melodic.. for 2004. Since then, however, emo and metalcore have grown big and the melody has followed - just take a look at bands like Saosin or Chiodos for lessons on melodic delivery. This is why today, The Sleeping's debut album sounds simply awful to my ears. Many songs lack hooks in the right places, and the screams sound amateurish and don't ever catch onto me in the same way as they do in a band like Senses Fail.

One could argue that this is what The Sleeping never aimed for anyway, but moreso a mature, perhaps slightly progressive take on the genre. It wouldn't surprise me if this was true, and the approach actually works on "Sunday Matinee (Reel To Real)", where Doug's screams actually have some power and length in them instead of abrubtly hanging as if he didn't have enough air in his lungs to continue, like they do on most songs on the album. "Broadcast Silence" is another standout track, blending the latter to perhaps what sees The Sleeping at their most melodic. Here's where hooks are plenty and the clean singing deviates from the Matt Skiba-ish calm style into something more passionate.

But unfortunately that's pretty much where the fun stops, and while many of the songs are alright listenable, none of them make a particular lasting effect on me today, when my ears have been numbed by the hundreds of emo bands I've heard since three years ago. Some people say Victory Records is killing emo, and signing bands that sound like HH and The Sleeping was the first step in making the genre thought of as "oh-so cliché", but hey, maybe they didn't realize it back then. "Believe What We Tell You" might have been a class album in 2004, but today its screams sound recycled from "The Silence In Black And White" and riffs borrowed from the first Bayside album, who together with The Sleeping all sounded almost exactly alike on their debut albums. However, should you not own this copy already, you might consider to buy it as it is a piece of emo history, but for heaven's sake don't buy it from Victory. The original label One Day Savior deserves the profits for this.

5

Download: Broadcast Silence, Sunday Matinee (Reel To Real)
For the fans of: Hawthorne Heights, Bayside, Halifax
Listen: Myspace

Release date 06.02.2007
(Originally 14.09.2004)
Victory

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