Since their first EP come out on a magazine cover, I have been keeping an eye on While She Sleeps. In that time they have evolved enough to keep their music interesting even though it does follow the standard metalcore formula, and this album sees them push a little closer to the rockier element pointed at on their last release You Are We without touching the pop end of the spectrum as recently investigated by other bands of their ilk.
Lead single ‘Anti-Social’ opens the album, and it is all business as usual musically until the clean vocals push to the fore and hold the majority of song’s intensity, mixed with an almost rapped second last verse. Then it jerks in a direction of almost dub-step styled music that feels out of place, before clicking back together in the close. Following track ‘I’ve Seen It All’ doesn’t possess the same jarring musical mish-mash of styles.
The bigger rock hooks sweeten up the middle of the album, the clean vocal duties shared between guitarists Matt Welsh and Sean Long really come into their own here. The title track is one of the best examples of a band fighting itself with a mixing pot of vocal and musical styles, creating a track that will no doubt go down well in the live environment.
The band continue to experiment with various musical elements as the album plays on, with samples and stop-start riffing wedged in all over the place, making for memorable musical moments, but not really memorable tracks. ‘Elephant’ is jarring as the melodies swing into a heavy hook or breakdown and then back into a quieter moment. It would probably make for three great tunes if it was split up, instead of sounding like three tracks stapled together.
Even after several listens over the course of a week, So What? left me still digging for something to really get its claws in. Whilst I applaud the band for continuing to stretch their musical wings and not perhaps losing touch like some of their metalcore contemporaries, this album leaves the band at an interesting crossroad. Do they continue in the direction this album points do until their heavy side is a mere memory, or do they get back to a writing style that is at least more memorable, if slightly formulaic? For that only the band has the answer.
- I’ve Seen it All
- So What?
- The Guilty Party
- Haunt Me
- Set You Free
- Good Grief
- Back of My Mind
- Gates of Paradise