‘Live and Unplugged’, Sleeping With Sirens are surprisingly tight and perfectly suited to a raw arrangement.
One of the most common criticisms levelled at the Florida pop punks is their reliance on overproduction. In dispelling this, their recordings of intimate shows last summer expose a daintier aspect to their usual urgency.
From the onset, frontman Kellin Quinn’s angelic tones adapt deftly to ‘With Ears to See and Eyes to Hear’, with confidence in swathes and a smooth transition of the faster midsection that could’ve easily lost its passion behind an acoustic. There’s far more authentic top notes abound through ‘If I’m James Dean, You’re Audrey Hepburn’, adding heaps of atmosphere to the acoustic adaptation.
The mistake-rending ‘Gold’ proves a perfect vehicle to showcase their instrumental talent that’s often concealed behind layer after layer of production. Kellin even notes that their groove-laden cover of Sublime’s ‘Santeria’ has been a challenge for bassist Justin Hills, but the struggle’s certainly inaudible over their coherent composition.
The solidarity amid ‘The Strays’ conveys the intimate setting with crowd feedback, while fan favourite ‘Free Now’ belts its ode to fatherhood with a drawn-out chorus that replaces its original impatience with soft conviction. Similarly, ‘Who Are You Now’ and its melodic crowd connection match the heartfelt ‘Save Me A Spark’, but it’s the soulful cover of Goo Goo Dolls’ ‘Iris’ that steals the show for sentiment.
Closing on their most powerful anthem to ignorance, ‘If You Can’t Hang’ remains as critical and punchy as ever, compounded by Kellin’s impressive range and an instrumental intricacy that shows they’ve desperately needed this opportunity to prove their worth.
Exhibited by crisp recording quality and a clearly meticulous acoustic arrangement, ‘Live and Unplugged’ is an impressive saunter through their back catalogue that’s as much of a memorial to Sleeping with Sirens’ talents as to their astute audience.
’Live and Unplugged’ by Sleeping With Sirens is released on April 8th on Epitaph Records.
Words by Ali Cooper (@AliZombie_)