Kellin Quinn’s tenor is Sleeping With Sirens‘ greatest asset. On SWS’ fourth full-length, Madness, he switches effortlessly between breathy croon and scream, ensuring you can feel the urgency in every syllable he sings.
It’s clear the band have teamed with producer John Feldmann (5SOS, P!ATD, The Used) to reinvent their sound around Quinn’s unique characteristics, and the result is a shiny modern pop-rock record full of radio-friendly unit shifters, which promises to catapult the band towards mainstream stardom.
Madness hits like a sugar rush via Kick Me and Go Go Go, two hyperactive tracks which dress the new poptastic direction in elements of their old sound. As the former’s spiky guitar riffs (from newcomer Nick Martin) give way to a pop-mosh groove, the latter is polished to perfection with almost irritatingly catchy choruses.
Save Me A Spark blends modern R&B sensibilities with an uplifting pop-rock chorus destined to soundtrack high-school graduation montages. Earworms continue as Fly borrows some rhythmic swagger from Paramore’s Ain’t It Fun.
The Strays is a folk-infused pop song with acoustic guitars, live strings, a glockenspiel and a joyous vocal melody. It’s playful and whimsical, oddly reminiscent of Jonsi, and it works.
Sleeping With Sirens haven’t completely ditched post-hardcore either. Belters Better Off Dead, Don’t Say Anything and the aptly titled We Like It Loud — which admittedly owes much to The Used’s Take Me Away — provide plenty to mosh to.
When things get crazy, they only do so to serve the song, and as a result the messages of positivity, self-belief and inclusion cut through easily, with the sparse yet beautiful title track and expansive closer Don’t Say Anything perfect examples of the power this approach can yield.
This record will inevitably alienate segments of Sleeping With Sirens’ fanbase, but for every old fan that walks away, there should be many new ones ready to take their place. Embrace the madness — it’s not as crazy as it sounds.
‘Madness’ is released Friday, 13th March via Epitaph.