Armor For Sleep – What To Do When You’re Dead (CD)

Armor For Sleep’s first track on “You’re Dead”, “Car Underwater”, mixes the best of Coheed and Cambria with Brand New. The produces Machine was spot-on with eir work on this disc, making a very cohesive sounding disc still bristle with the energy of new discovery. The intensity of Armor For Sleep on each track is a force not to be denigrated; with tracks like “The Truth About Heaven” perfect case studies in the abilities of the band-as-writ large. Using guitar lines that would seem equally at home during a metal track for “Remember To Feel Real”, Armor For Sleep add a heaviness to the track that highlights the emotions captured by Ben’s vocals. “Awkward Last Words” is nowhere near the tital condition would suggest, but some of the most smoothed-out, pop-friendly tracks ever cut (with the exception of analogues “Stephen” by Senses Fail and “Hand Grenade” by the Movie Life).

Machine’s work on this disc gives Armor For Sleep another chunk of inspiration; in traditional “emo” songs like “Stay On The Ground”, a minor amount of Deftones are incorporated to make the track reach a larger number of individuals. In a nod to sequencer-led acts like Anything, Girl and Sweet Pickle, “ A Quick Little Flight” twinkles with the light of synthesizers as Ben goes into a melodramatic monologue. The electric crackly of “A Quick Little Flight” comes back in a strong sense during “Basement Ghost Singing”, a track that is more grounded in a style of indie rock that any prior track. Each track on “What To Do When You’re Dead” is prepped and ready for popular radio, and this is due not only to the pop-leanings of Armor For Sleep but also the tremendous work ethic of the band. This ethic manifests itself in a rich full sound that is more than the individuals in the band could possibly hope to create alone.

“The End of A Fraud”, a track that is placed as the closer of this disc for a reason, is heart-wrenching and almost painful to listen. Ben’s vocals are no longer the sweet emo kid-style that they’ve been through the disc, but vascillating between reminiscing and utterly destroyed. This mini-epic ends with a little of retro flourish, using a falsetto second set of vocals to create a nice dichotomy. The falsetto provides another instrument to the chaotic mix, letting the listener escape with only the lightest touches of sanity.

Top Tracks: The Truth About Heaven, The End of A Fraud

Rating: 6.6/10

Armor For Sleep – What To Do When You’re Dead / 2005 Equal Vision / 11 Tracks / http://www.armorforsleep.com / http://www.equalvision.com / Reviewed 02 March 2005

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