Album Review
The Sleeping - What It Takes Album Cover

The Sleeping - What It Takes

Reviewed by
The Sleeping - What It Takes
Record Label: Victory Records
Release Date: February 17, 2009
The first month of my freshman year of college, I dragged a bud to a crappy little venue in a not-so-hot neighborhood to see a few bands I had never heard of, one of them being The Sleeping. This was before they penned with Victory and were DIY-style touring (hence the no stage and bottom line sound set-up) off of Believe What We Tell You, their first full length. They were enthusiastic to play for us, a small bunch of maybe 20 and earnestly cared about playing this crappy little venue on a weeknight in Pittsburgh, PA.

The band then signed to Victory Records. They released Questions & Answers, which played through with a prominent note of progression and controlled rage. Believe What We Tell You did what it could with the debut jitters, awkward footing and a direction that went every which way, but Q&A took the band’s post-hardcore sound, buffed it up and powered through with catchy but technically efficient standouts in songs like “Don’t Hold Back”. Doug Robinson, the man with the mic, was focused and on point for every gruff punch, every calculated growl and every shift in mood.

What It Takes, the band’s third full-length, follows in the same regard, sort of. It’s a digestible post-hardcore band making another digestible post-hardcore album, but relative to Q&A, The Sleeping try new things like jazzy bits and fresh guitar and keyboard sounds. Guitarist Cameron Keym left the band before they hit the studio (with producer Brian Mcternan, a fine, fine fit), and with new dude Paul Cadena joining the team, the guitar flair is more piercing and haunting - just the right letter of development that takes The Sleeping down a darker, more gutting path. On keys is Chris Evans adding an energetic dose of organ effects that also beef up the shadows. Between the two, The Sleeping sound invigorated. It’s immediately obvious from album opener “You’ll Be a Corpse Before Your Time” to single “Bomb The World” to entirely badass “Refusive Relationship”.

The Sleeping’s hard-edged attack goes from a charge forward to calm restraint and then back again across the whole album, a technique of balance and believable zeal that allows What It Takes an extra layer of passion and intrigue. Yeah, it’s the trick of one pony, but this album has a different context of sound and flavor, so I don’t mind. Same with Robinson: his stern but open intensity is right in vein of the last album, but since we’re set in a different scene, What It Takes isn’t just a thoughtless sequel. And nowadays, that deserves at least a gold star or two.

The album, however, is minimally motivating. Despite the fire-cracking guitar work and passes of might, the fist-pumping melodies are hardly ready to stand the test of time. It’s an unfortunate fate for the album’s lasting power, and even though the texture of the keys do well to keep it all fluent and “Bomb the World” is a front-runner standout, let’s be honest here - What It Takes' prime is in the moment.

RIYLBayside, Rise Against, TREOS, Thrice, Hot Water Music
Track Listing1. You’ll Be A Corpse Before Your Time
2. Friday Night
3. Bomb The World
4. Shallow Lungs
5. Running Faster
6. Ripped Dress
7. Should Have Let Me Leave
8. He Only Sees Where He Walks
9. Refusive Relationship
10. Bad Religion
11. Anyone Night Stand
12. Deadbeast
This review is a user submitted review from Julia Conny. You can see all of Julia Conny's submitted reviews here.
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 66
12:50 AM on 03/02/09
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delvec19's Avatar
Love this album!
06:23 AM on 03/02/09
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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Gregory Robson's Avatar
Totally agree about how minimally motivating it is. I was hoping they'd take a step forward, and it feels more like a step back.
09:05 AM on 03/02/09
This is Hell / Travis
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thisishell's Avatar
Love this album, love these dudes.
09:15 AM on 03/02/09
It won't snow where she is going.
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SteveD's Avatar
One of the nicest bands I have ever met. Album is solid.
09:16 AM on 03/02/09
Here, It Never Snowed
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Kbm600's Avatar
This is a great album. The opening track is exhilarating.
09:22 AM on 03/02/09
Regular Member
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No Avatar Selected
i love the sleeping and will definitely keep supporting them, but with that being said, this album doesn't have the same lasting value as their previous albums did for me.
09:23 AM on 03/02/09
Don't give me no hand me down love.
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Klatzke's Avatar
Love this album. What's with the low lyrics score? I thought most of them were pretty well done..

My favorites happen to be: "I'm like an angel headless, reckless with good intentions.."

I'm just actually wondering since you didn't mention it in the text.
09:28 AM on 03/02/09
Tonight I'm Burning Star IV
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zubinmoosa's Avatar
This is one of my favorite albums of the year. It would get a high 80s mark from me.
09:45 AM on 03/02/09
makin' good time
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Ryzenfall's Avatar
Digestible review. I think it's time i checked this band out again. Didn't since their first release.
10:02 AM on 03/02/09
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Alextisonfire's Avatar
What venue are you referencing at the beginning, Garfield arts?
10:02 AM on 03/02/09
Regular Member
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actionpat's Avatar
One of the nicest bands I have ever met. Album is solid.
10:09 AM on 03/02/09
Registered User
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tbsrock08's Avatar
The Sleeping is awesome. Really chill dudes!!!and an AMAZING live show!!!
10:33 AM on 03/02/09
"that guy"
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quesosauce's Avatar
I think the album is solid, and when i listen to it, i dont ever skip any tracks, which is rare these days. most albums have one or two stinkers, but this one is solid
10:35 AM on 03/02/09
Tucker SL!
Secret Lives! / Tucker
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Tucker SL!'s Avatar
fucking love these dudes.

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