Let’s admit it, Sleeping With Sirens are never going to be a critically adored band. Nevertheless, you can’t ignore their popularity. Now on their fifth album, and first on a major label, SWS have developed a loyal fanbase through their brand of pop-infused post-hardcore.
Pre-emptied by clichéd comments of “maturing” and lyrically coming from “difficult circumstances”, ‘Gossip’ is set up to be Sirens’ most intriguing record to date. However, it ultimately falls flat on its intentions.
As ever, SWS showcase a set of slick, boisterous rock songs; ‘Trouble’, ‘Empire to Ashes’ and ‘Cheers’. In addition, the distinctive and opinion-splitting vocals of Kellin Quinn take centre stage throughout. Undoubtedly, Sirens have found their niché and no matter how much they attempt to stray from the norm, the delivery is still the same.
Don’t get us wrong, if you’re looking for a handful of soaring pop-rock songs, then ‘Gossip’ has enough to satisfy your needs. Lead single, ‘Legends’ is an infectious earworm of an anthem while the paring of ‘One Man Army’ and ‘Cheers’ are uplifting and defiant. The latter contains a lyrical punk bite as Quinn states “we march to the beat of a different drum”. While ‘The Chase’ embraces a stomping alt-rock approach, even with banal words from Quinn, “not living for the thrill of the moment”.
The low points come in the form of ‘I Need To Know’ and its blatant attempt to be an impassioned pop ballad with nauseating lyrics. Likewise, the gradual build of ‘War’ is routinely delivered and ineffective. Sure, their intentions are clear; to produce an empowering album finale, but it’s too predictable.
Overall, ‘Gossip’ sees Sleeping With Sirens head in a lighter, pop-focused direction. It’s sure to be welcomed by some longtime fans, yet for the neutrals, this does little to change the perception of SWS. More often than not, and much like hearsay itself, ‘Gossip’ is fruitless and bland.
‘Gossip’ by Sleeping With Sirens is released on 22nd September on Warner Bros. Records.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)