When most bands announce a ‘live and unplugged’ album, fans get a little (or a lot) nervous, but not when that band is Sleeping With Sirens. We all know their vocalist, Kellin Quinn, was made for ‘live and unplugged’.
That’s right ladies and gents, it’s the post-hardcore band that everyone is always talking about, the one you either hate or love, the one that makes post-hardcore as mainstream as Fall Out Boy and yes, the one with the singer whose highest of high vocals could put Mariah Carey to shame.
Sleeping With Sirens are no strangers to unplugged, acoustic songs. Their acoustic EP If You Were A Movie, This Would Be Your Soundtrack rates very highly with SWS and non-SWS fans. And if you’ve ever seen them live you’d know that they always take a moment or two out of their head-banging, dance-inducing set to slow it down with a single guitar. But this album seems differently. Even their previously acoustic-made track ‘With Ears To See And Eyes To Hear’ sounds unusual – in a good way. Perhaps it’s the way that Kellin Quinn’s majestic, fluid-like vocals move with every beat of the vibrant track. Here you’re getting the best of both worlds; the ability to hear SWS live in all their glory without any part of the resplendent quintet getting drowned out or lost in the background.
Fan favourite ‘If I’m James Dean, You’re Audrey Hepburn’ gets a funky, jazzy face-lift, sounding more like something you’d here in a trendy coffee house. The change of tone makes the usually sweet-sounding acoustic version of the track, a more thoughtful, expressive version of the song. The change-up in melody helps make the emotions mimic the content of the track. And as usual, it works. There have been many varied renditions of ‘If I’m James Dean’, but there has never been a bad one.
Kellin Quinn can go from having a casual conversation about Taco Bell and “shitty whiskey” to flawlessly belting out the almost-made-for-acoustic ‘Gold’. Another track that is elevated in its acoustic state is the important, emotion-provoking and goddamn beautiful ‘Free Now’.
‘Who Are You Now’ is almost unrecognisable. The incredible reflective yet understated melody reworked by Jack Fowler (guitar), Justin Hills (bass), Gabe Barham (drums) and Nick Martin (guitar) really compliments Kellin Quinn’s compelling vocals.
The bouncy pop punk ‘Go Go Go’ is actually made even bouncier and more pop punk in its acoustic form. It’s just a feel-good dancey track. And speaking of feel-good dancey tracks, SWS manage to find the time to fit in a fun cover of Sublime’s ‘Santeria’—with a kickass guitar solo by the one and only Jack Fowler.
The acoustic ‘Save Me A Spark’ is incredibly soothing and beautiful, just like their stunning cover of ‘Iris’.
And if you were thinking that mega-tune ‘If You Can’t Hang’ was going to become a bubble-gum pop track, you were unbelievably wrong. Even in its acoustic form the song manages to stay true to its original raw, heavy vibe, despite the change in volume.
Sleeping With Sirens did a phenomenal job at keeping their tracks fun and fresh in their acoustic, unplugged state. The band’s live performance is truly impressive and this album gives those who are yet to see them a little taste of just how remarkable they really are.