Described on their website as a “pure emo” band, Armor For Sleep aim to be exactly that, mixing a blend of punk rock with pop and raw emotions reflected in lyrics such as “Walked past my grave in the dark tonight.” (The Truth About Heaven), “I would still die for you” (Car Underwater) and “I hear your footsteps move the floorboards above my head” (Basement Ghost Singing).
This obsession with death and the beyond (The album title, song lyrics…even their fans are called Ghosthunters!) is explored throughout the album and with the American emo influenced sound, Armor For Sleep are definitely something you’d have heard before. Let’s just say, if you don’t like the current surge of music from said emo-scene, then you won’t like this band…
Opener Car Underwater begins mysteriously with barely audible ghoulish sounds, but as soon as the guitar riff sets in, a sense of familiarity kicks in as well. If you’re on a quest to find originality, then you’re looking in the wrong place here, – as the chorus approaches, you may begin to reminisce about all the thousands of songs that may share the same melody.
The Truth About Heaven, Quick Little Flight and Remember To Feel Real are more successful in grabbing the reader by the metaphorical horns and although on the surface the Armor For Sleep sound is often up tempo and carefree, singer Ben Jorgensen revels in his own self loathing and misery: with lyrics so personal that its almost like reading a page out of Jorgensen’s diary. This brutal honesty is indeed a highlight of this album, as although the music may be generic, lyrically Armor For Sleep brand their own mark on the otherwise overcrowded industry.
The most intriguing song on the album by far is Basement Ghost Singing which displays an element of Deftones, which is worlds away from the rest of the album that follows the same punk rock structure. This more experimental side of Armor For Sleep gives an insight of their potential and it’s almost like this album has been created to appeal to a commercial set of fans who will be more likely to accept a change in direction of the band in albums to come.
Closing track The End of A Fraud bears certain Poison The Well-esque qualities best illustrated on their You Come Before You album with a sombre, electronic sound (minus the intense screaming but with added emo for your convenience!).
Throughout the album, singer/guitarist Ben Jorgensen resembles Jesse Lacey from Brand New to a degree whereby I’m convinced that I am indeed listening to Brand New, especially on Stay On The Ground and Walking At Night, Alone.
Ok, lets face it, its been established that this band aren’t the most original band on the planet but what they lack in individuality they have in passion. Each lyric rolls off Jorgensen’s tongue with a pain that often attempts to grab your heart out of your body (Car Underwater) and yet at times is unbothered and numb (Walking At Night, Alone).
Following in the footsteps of bands like Hot Rod Circuit and Taking Back Sunday, Armor For Sleep have produced an 11-track album that won’t surprise but will certainly entertain and does not fail on delivering good old American emo. Worth listening to in moments of accepting that not many bands can break the mould.