Let me make one thing perfectly clear before I begin to dissect this album: this is not the Armor For Sleep you heard on Dream To Make Believe, so put aside all your preconcieved notions. I'm not sure if it was the insane amount of ads floating around on news sites, zines, etc., or if it was the fact that the band's rabid fanbase seemed to elevate them to this sort of god-like status, or I could have just been bored. Whatever the case was, I am glad that I didn't completely write them off after their last record, because the band completely reinvented themselves with this latest release.
Armor For Sleep have dropped the "dream rock" sound, opting instead to go with a more streamlined rock sound. This band must have been aware of the holes that existed on the last release because they fixed a good portion of them. Often times listening to the last album, I would get lost and wake up on track 7; that kind of stuff doesn't happen on What To Do When You Are Dead. This record is akin to the latest efforts from the Juliana Theory, Jimmy Eat World and the Get Up Kids; emotional rock done well, or just plain rock with a hint of emotion.
The music on this outing is the thing that impressed me most, more specifically the guitars. While not breaking new ground in any areas whatsoever, with the help of a more than a few good leads and a serviceable rythym section, it stays just interesting enough to not lull me to sleep. The vocals are, well, how can I say this...less pussy-ish than on the band's debut. They now fit well with the current sound found on this record. Lyrically, I guess this is an improvement, but still as is the case which much of this music; nothing to write home about, although I've read that the lyrics tie in as sort of a concept album. I don't know much about that kind of stuff, but it's cool for people who like it I guess.
This record, while not being a world-beater, is most definitely a step up from their last. I recommend this album to people who were into this band before as it still retains some sort of ties to the Armor For Sleep of old, and for people who like no-frills rock done with an emotional edge. If you fall into one of those categories you should have fun with this for a month or so, maybe a little more or a little less. All in all, great strides were made with this record, still not enough to justify their huge buzz, but whatever...it's solid
"The More You Talk The Less I Hear"
"The Truth About Heaven"
"Basement Ghost Singing"