Recording information: Foxy Studios, Los Angeles, CA.
Photographers: Lindsey Byrnes; Zac Schweithale.
The fourth studio long-player from the emotionally charged Orlando, Florida-bred, Grand Rapids, Michigan-based, melodic post-hardcore unit, Madness is also Sleeping with Sirens' debut for Epitaph Records, and it doubles down on the band's more populist leanings, offering up a slick, smart, and deliriously catchy set of punk-infused, modern rock radio fodder built around the distinctive tenor of frontman Kellin Quinn. Opening with the one-two punch of "Kick Me" and "Go Go Go," a double haymaker of sugary punk-pop shot through with enough generalized dystopian angst to rouse even the most medicated teenage outlier, the 13-song set is as infectious as it is perfectly contoured. One of the band's greatest strengths, outside of Quinn's explosive-tipped arrow of a voice (it invokes the post-Sunny Day Real Estate pop acumen of Jeremy Enigk), is their penchant for pairing vitriol with hope, and Madness, despite its foundation of heavy-heartedness, always allows the listener an emotional out. This is primal scream therapy, not just tone-deaf rebellion, and even though the subject matter lacks any sort of specificity, there's a real attempt to connect here, and that lends the album some weight, even as it occasionally spirals off into paint-by-numbers key changes and formulaic, anthemic choruses. Also, the streamlined production, while effective throughout much of the LP, often renders Quinn's expressive croon into a soulless, mechanized bleat -- pitch correct should only be applied to vocalists that actually need it. That said, Sleeping with Sirens continue to grow both musically and (as far as the genre will allow) emotionally, and Madness is their most consistent and well-crafted set list to date, and while it may move them further toward the pop end of the hardcore spectrum, it does little to dampen their combustible core. ~ James Christopher Monger
Alternative Press - 4 stars out of 5 -- "MADNESS successfully articulates where the band's headspace is right now; SWS put the time in and came out poised for greater things."
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