The Sleeping Voice is the debut EP from New Brunswick, New Jersey upstarts Kick Over The Traces, and while you won't find anything on here that's particularly new and exciting, you will find some solid tunes on that will get your foot tapping.
Not unlike many bands hailing from NJ nowadays, Kick Over The Traces play a style of emotional pop-punk that isn't exactly their own creation, but does work well. The strongest aspect about their music that leaps out at the listener immediately is the exceptionally well-done vocals. Vocalist Rocky Catanese has a voice that is very easy to listen to, for it is very strong and beefed up; there are no thin whiny vocals to be found on this one, folks. If there's anything that sets Kick Over The Traces apart from the rest of the pack, it would be the vocals, without a doubt.
As for the band backing Rocky, you've got your pretty standard guitar-bass-drums combo, but they complement each other well, and there are some pretty inventive bass fills done by Clark Lampen which are nice to listen to and spice things up a bit; check the verses in "Done Dreaming" for proof. My only qualm with this EP is that the drumming is a bit unimaginative; a little excitement would increase the replayability of these songs twofold. However, I must say that the mix is absolutely perfect, and it sounds fantastic for such a small release. Kick Over The Traces get two thumbs up for that; they definitely know how to produce something that sure sounds great.
The strongest track on the EP is, hands down, "A Fragile Moment." It's catchy as all hell, and boasts a chorus that is totally anthemic. The aforementioned "Done Dreaming" is another highlight, with the guitar-less verses and strong finish. "Giving Up Your Last Breath" rounds out the stronger tracks, with its quick pace and nice lead guitar riffage. Unfortunately, track five, "Passing Out To Pass The Time" (come on now) will make you forget how solid the first four songs were: the nearly three minutes of acoustic guitar and uncharacteristically weak vocals by Catanese make it a throwaway - even the end, which is considerably better than the first half, can't save it. It's a shame that people will focus on how extremely poor this track is and forget about the previous songs; if people started off with this song, they would automatically excuse this band to the used CD bin. One more thing is that most of the tracks run at five-plus minutes, which is a tad lengthy for an emotional punk song of sorts; a little tweaking here and there would do wonders for the band.
The Sleeping Voice is by no means an original effort, but it also by no means a poor one. There are enough solid tracks on here to grasp a listener that is willing to give these boys a fair listen. I've heard through the grapevine that the band has been tweaking their sound and experimenting with new genres, and they have also been flirting with bigger labels, so keep an eye out for these guys…you may be hearing about them again soon.
"A Fragile Moment"
"Giving Up Your Last Breath"
Listen to "A Fragile Moment," "Done Dreaming," and "Giving Up Your Last Breath"