RIYLSleeping With Sirens
A Skylit Drive
Tracklist01. May These Noises Startle You in Your Sleep Tonight
02. Hell Above
03. A Match Into Water
04. King For a Day (ft. Kellin Quinn)
05. Bulls in the Bronx
06. Props & Mayhem
07. Tangled in the Great Escape (ft. Jason Butler)
08. I’m Low on Gas and You Need a Jacket
09. The First Punch
10. One Hundred Sleepless Nights
11. Stained Glass and Colorful Tears
12. Hold On Till May (ft. Linsday Stamey)
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I was a big fan of Before Today, but the moment I heard A Flair for the Dramatic, even before the band swapped members, image, and name, I knew Pierce the Veil was going to be in guilty pleasure territory for me. And as most readers and staff can attest to, I have no problem liking a lot of terrible stuff. But you know what? Pierce the Veil’s 2010 effort Selfish Machines was decidedly not terrible, even taking into account Vic Fuentes’ high-pitched, flamboyant yet scratchy delivery combined with lyrics that could’ve been pulled from a sad 8th grader’s LiveJournal. That album kicked off with "Besitos," one of the catchiest and most schizophrenic Pierce the Veil songs I’ve had the pleasure of hearing. Pierce the Veil can write one hell of a post-hardcore song.
What I’m saying in a roundabout way is that Collide With the Sky is dangerously close to transgressing even my guilty pleasure zone. When I listen to Collide With the Sky, I feel old, like this is the kind of super sugary screamo nonsense all the kids like these days. Except I’m five years younger than Vic.
Mixing a good deal of pop-punk in with their signature post-hardcore, Pierce the Veil clutter each song with production, layers upon layers of vocals, and these annoying, shrieky screams, like the band was recording in the nest of a pissed-off osprey. I distinctly remember complimenting the full and uber-layered songwriting approach in past reviews, but on this album it just feels messy—and I’m sorry, but the osprey screams are terrible.
Collide With the Sky isn’t bad, just inconsistent. Despite a sketchy, osprey-laden opening, "Bulls in the Bronx" pulls together bits of disparate instrumentation into an exciting listen, complete with an extended latin-flavored jam on the bridge and a long ring out with keys. And I can’t get out of this review without mentioning my deep, undying love for "King for a Day." With a guest spot from Kellin Quinn, "King for a Day" is the quintessential Pierce the Veil song. It’s just disturbingly catchy—probably this album’s "Caraphernelia." But then there’s "Props & Mayhem," a misguided, doo-woppy pop diddy that flops on its face. We shall speak of it no further.
One of the more interesting songs is "Tangled in the Great Escape," which actually features letlive’s Jason Butler quite prominently, going full-on duet with Vic. The first verse of the song’s got a huge bass backbone underscored by delicate, eerie keys, while the second verse and subsequent breakout packs more of a bite. There’s a tragic moment of osprey breakdown at the halfway point, but the quiet bridge, build-up and ringout feature Butler at his best. It’s worth a listen for any letlive fan.
Any goodwill gained by "Tangled in the Great Escape," however, is forcibly sucked away by "I’m Low on Gas and You Need a Jacket." Aside from the Pete Wentzian title, it’s a sleepy slow song with a huge guitar rattle constantly at odds with the vocals.
And that’s roughly the story of Collide With the Sky as a whole: constant oscillations between pretty damn great and varying degrees of acceptably bad. As an entry into their discography, it’s a step back. If you’ve been on the fence with Pierce the Veil, this album’s not going to be the one to change your mind. They’ve only got niche appeal, but they’re always a unique presence in the indie music scene—I’ll give them that. And I can’t argue with the quality of their guest spots.