Sleepaway - Sleepaway (Cover Artwork)


Sleepaway (2006)

No Milk

While listening to Sleepaway's self-titled debut, I kept feeling it was necessary to turn up the volume. The sad part was that even after giving the knob a good twist, it didn't help. No matter how high the volume, the album's strange choice of mixing and production left it feeling apathetic and lifeless. The instrumentation is shoved into the background, with the drums sounding like the mics that recorded them were on the other side of the room. It might be a conscious choice made by the band due to the fact that nearly all the vocals are delivered in a half whisper, but even still it only serves to make the album sound like a watered down version of an already watered down band like Mae or Copeland. If Sleepaway were going for an adult contemporary tone they've succeeded, if not this album has a serious problem. But enough about production, let's get to the tunes.

Sleepaway's emo-influenced pop-rock sound is soft and damn near bordering on straight pop. They mix clean guitars, shining keyboards, tambourine-aided choruses, and vocals that shoot for falsetto bullseyes and sugar sweet harmonies into a combination that just sounds too similar to bands like, well, for lack of more name dropping, Mae and Copeland. Even when the band attempts to "rock out" like on "Who Needs the Radio When You've Got Me?" they fall desperately short. The guitars never attain any sort of power, but instead maintain an overdriven tone that seems like it would fit nicely on a Matchbox 20 record.

I know Sleepaway aren't trying to get circle pits going or bring out kung fu moves from their audiences, but their debut is just too listless and muted. Often the music seems like mere backing for the vocalist, and even he sounds like his doctor told him that if he raises his voice above hushed he will damage his vocal chords.