June 26, 2012 - Rise
Acoustic releases have gotten a bad rap over the years. Generally, they're viewed as stopgap releases or record label contract-fulfillers, thrown together with not much thought given to the tracklisting or arrangements. Rising stars Sleeping With Sirens buck this trend entirely with If You Were A Movie, This Would Be Your Soundtrack, a five-song EP that includes three brand new songs as well as two tracks from their first album, With Ears To See And Eyes To Hear, completely reconstructed. The result is nothing short of a smashing success. Current scene heartthrob Kellin Quinn delivers 18 straight minutes of powerful, sexy, R&B-inflected vocals, refraining from hitting those power notes to instead throw in some previously unseen white-boy soul ("Roger Rabbit"). The acoustic arrangements on these tracks are anything but sparse, too, with all sorts of bells and whistles popping up to accentuate Quinn's coos and come-ons, including strings, bells and even bongos.
While the three new songs are enjoyable for various reasons (this writer is particularly a fan of the heart-warming gang vocals a la the Maine in "Stomach Tied In Knots"), the most impressive part of the EP is how well the band have reworked two of their old songs. The EP-opening "James Dean & Audrey Hepburn" (reworked from "If I'm James Dean, Then You're Audrey Hepburn") eschews the Saosin-esque guitar lines and pounding rhythm section from its plugged-in counterpart, instead focusing on a delicate chorus before closing with a Jimmy Eat World-esque vocal loop. Simiarly, the EP-closing "With Ears To See And Eyes To Hear" strips away all of the aggression of the original, replacing it with a melancholy feel driven by Quinn moaning, "Liar, liar/You'll pay for your sins."
With If You Were A Movie, Sleeping With Sirens prove they're more than just some two-bit screamo act, and there's no doubt that if they continue to add these pop elements in their harder-edged sound, they're destined for some really big things.