When a band who made their initial mark on the musical landscape on independent labels signs to a major label I try to give them the benefit of the doubt. I fully expect they’ll shift their sound a bit to reach a wider audience, but I try not to throw around the “sellout” label too liberally. Sadly I’m left with no choice but to use that overused term for Sleeping With Sirens and their major label debut, Gossip.
These guys have always had a pop-leaning with their brand of post-hardcore, so their breaking into the mainstream and going poppy isn’t really a surprise. This new collection of songs is just a total departure from what they previously released, though. Even on their last album, Madness, they managed to sound poppy without completely abandoning the sound that got them where they are. The same can’t be said for this album.
No tracks on this album sound like the Sleeping With Sirens that fans have known for the last 8 years. From the opening title track, you would have no idea this was the same band if it wasn’t for vocalist Kellin Quinn’s memorable voice. Gossip is just a complete 180 from everything that got them where they are today.
That said, I’m not completely hating on these tracks. Singles like “Legends” and “Empire to Ashes” are prime for radio airplay. There’s nothing but catchiness and pop tropes all over the 37 minutes of this release. Every track on here is an earworm, which is what these guys were always good at. Maybe Gossip is what they’ve always been going for and post-hardcore was just a bit of a vehicle to get them there.
All in all, Gossip isn’t an awful album. I think it’s stronger than many albums from their peers in the Vans Warped Tour scene who have signed to major labels. They completely abandoned what got them here unlike, say, Bring Me the Horizon. But maybe it’ll work out for them and they’ll find even greater success. These guys have always been a guilty pleasure for me, and while I probably won’t ever go back to this album, I can definitely see it being a success for them.
I give Gossip a 3/5.
Check out lead single “Legends” here.