With their bubblegum pop froth and poster-boy image, Sleeping With Sirens encapsulate all the big gloss and dramatic mush of commercial kingpins, which now sees them teetering on the cusp of super-stardom. Tantamount to musical catnip, scene hysteria is sure to erupt around ‘Madness’, the Floridian quintet’s fourth full-length effort, yet attempts to pitch themselves between radio-friendly punch and cloying sentimentality will sit rather uncomfortably with those of us unclouded by chiseled jawlines and floppy fringes.
Tracks such as ‘Fly’, with its arena ready chorus and playful swagger, represent a high point here, sitting alongside ‘Better Off Dead’ and ‘Go Go Go’ in aping the Paramore blueprint to great effect. The problems start, however, when a dewy eyed level of schmaltz begins to seep through, and the ultra-sap of ‘November’, not to mention the awful Disney-esque horror of ‘The Strays’ introduce such a level of romantic goo that it all gets a tad unbearable.
‘Madness’ is a somewhat disorientating listen. Even looking past the glass shattering, helium histrionics of frontman Kellin Quinn‘s voice (the epitome of ‘acquired taste’), the saccharine quota of plastic pop nonsense far outweighs the firecracker polished punk which, as the likes of ‘We Like It Loud’ show, the band are not only capable of, but far better at.
Although, for all its shortcomings, it’s with depressingly predictability that ‘Madness’ is destined to catapult Sleeping With Sirens into the mainstream.
Written by Tony Bliss (@TBliss88)