The Sleeping – The Big Deep
Release Date: September 28, 2010
Record Label: Victory
Einstein once said that insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Not to say that The Sleeping were insane when releasing their first three albums, which are full of aggressive, heavy-hitting heart-on-sleeve anthems, but they had a sameness sort of sound to them. On their fourth album, The Big Deep, the Long Island quintet take the plunge into new musical endeavors. They still feature aggressive, heavy-hitting heart-on-sleeve anthems, but this time they’re presented with more depth, digging deeper into their overall sound here, as the eleven tracks expand over a variety of different tempos and influences.
“Dark Days” opens with a mesmerizing guitar riff, as vocalist Doug Robinson still sounds as passionate as ever. But the difference between this track and older tracks is the bridge, which is equipped with Christopher Evans’ eerie keys and fuzzed out guitar chords from Paul Cadena. The melancholy continues with the siren-laden “Boroughs of the Ocean,” which really showcases Joseph Zizzo’s quality work behind the kit. The soaring “Beautiful Gloom” is the most rock and roll song in the group’s discography, as the wary verses lead into the best chorus on the album. Lyrics such as, “On my way down, straight down, saw a different side of the moonlight,” kind of sums up the theme of the album – dark in nature but still hopeful.
While Robinson doesn’t scream as often as he has on previous albums, his raspy voice is still impactful, as heard on tracks like “Retiring Spies (Change Your Life)” and “Deafening the UK.” The latter is especially impressive, as it may be the highlight on an album that features Robinson’s best vocal work to date. The Sleeping also delves into some uncharted territory, such as fusing jazz into their sound with the haunting “The Phantom of Darker Clouds,” while the vulnerable and string-heavy “Oh, Gloria” showcases another musical stride from the band.
The Big Deep shows that The Sleeping will not be pigeonholed into one genre, and the track that best sums this up is final track (and lead single) “Young Vibes…Don’t Run Away From Me.” Still full of the urgency you've come to expect from The Sleeping, but it also incorporates all the progress shown throughout the album, thus creating a nice balance between the old and new. Clearly, The Sleeping does not adhere to the labels and stereotypes of this scene. Amidst the sea of bands more concerned with choreographed stage moves and autotune, sometimes you have to dive deeper to find something truly unique.