Armor for Sleep – Dream to Make Believe

Armor for Sleep
Dream to Make Believe

After a brief but pretty little instrumental number that goes by the same name as the band, things really get started with the title track. The listener is quickly reminded of Thursday and all of the comparable bands that have followed, as multiple layers of guitar stack intricate melodies on top of chugging riffs. The rhythms have no problem stopping and starting on a dime, playing a number of neat little tricks along the way just to keep things interesting. The vocals are vaguely familiar yet somewhat unique, often with multiple layers involved, but avoiding the expected lower level of screaming that so often comes with this style of playing. The actual lyrics are where the band leaves room for a little improvement. Lines like “If I were sand and you were oceans / The moon would be why you’re pulled to me / I wake to think dreams are real, I sleep so I don’t have to feel / The truth that you can’t ever be / The one person that won’t ever forget me” come off as a bit whiny and predictable, but they are not all that bad, and even some of the bad ones grow on you after time, even if you feel a little sappy singing along.

The aforementioned title track, as well as numbers like “Being Your Walls” and “Frost and Front Steps,” are certain highlights. They are not exactly earth-shatteringly original in their approach, but it is in these songs that the assortment of elements the band has borrowed from other bands sound the most fresh. Songs like “My Town,” “The Wanderer’s Guild,” and “Raindrops” take a more easily digestible pop approach that results in songs that sound torn between a punk-rock show and a high school dance. This isn’t necessary an insult, it’s just an attempt at describing how the band blends lofty pop prettiness with aggressive punk edginess.

The band occasionally gets bogged down by its own formula, resulting in some uneventful material. This is most evident on mid-tempo and lulling numbers like “All Warm,” “Phantoms Now,” and “Slip Like Space.” “Kind of Perfect” stands out as quite different from the tracks that surround it; a quiet little love song with jangly guitar melodies, gently tapped drums, and the sort of lyrics that will earn it a spot on an endless string of mix tapes passed from 16-year-old punk boys to the pretty girls they have their hearts set on.

Though Dream to Make Believe is the band’s debut recorded effort, Armor for Sleep has already toured with the likes of Thursday, Midtown, Hey Mercedes, Piebald, and numerous others. Fans of those bands are sure to enjoy this one, as they may not sound exactly the same, but they all have a well-polished pop-punk feel that makes them difficult to completely turn away from.