Review: Sleepwave – Broken Compass

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There’s a moment on the DVD accompanying the deluxe edition of Underoath’s 2008 release Lost in the Sound of Separation in which David Bendeth, who was brought on board to mix the album, is chiding the band over dinner. According to Bendeth, the band doesn’t have it in them to write a hit song and make a splash on rock radio. The band begs to differ.

During the slightly jovial, slightly heated exchange, lead vocalist Spencer Chamberlain quietly sips his beer and watches the debate, before meekly adding, “I could write a hundred songs like that.” Perhaps it’s no surprise then that six years later, Chamberlain’s new band, Sleepwave, has emerged from Bendeth’s studio with a defiantly unapologetic radio rock record titled Broken Compass.

Since Underoath’s farewell in early 2013, Chamberlain has made no bones about his intentions with his new project. Name dropping bands like Alice in Chains and Nirvana frequently in interviews and speaking of his longing for the return of real rock and roll, it’s clear that he was fully prepared to distance himself from his past.

If this precursor leads you to believe the album is a dumb rock throwaway, it’s not. Quite the contrary – in fact, it’s one of the most thoughtful straight-up rock records to come along in some time. It’s not groundbreaking, it’s not boundary stretching, it’s not all that controversial, but it is a big rock record with a big heart.

Chamberlain and sole bandmate Stephen Bowman certainly possess the musical chops to pull off this kind of a record, but Bendeth’s fingerprints truly cover Broken Compass from front to back. Not unlike his past conquests, Bendeth was able to take a raw, promising demo and turn it into an arena-filling symphony of buzzing guitar distortion, beautifully-placed keyboards and dramatic synthesizers.

Opening track “Paper Planes” is indicative of what lies ahead, with its eerie keyboard intro that blasts into full throttle before Chamberlain unleashes a massive, melodic chorus. Chamberlain proved his clean vocal abilities on Underoath’s final release, Ø (Disambiguation), but on Broken Compass he finds himself on another level. Think the most climactic moments of Cove Reber-era Saosin with the over-the-top power of Linkin Park.

On the album’s heaviest track, “The Wolf”, Chamberlain transitions from high-pitched croon to gritty chant, even reaching into his bag of old tricks to unleash a few of his renowned screams. Those moments are few and far between, and rightfully so. This isn’t a hardcore or punk record – not by a long shot. Chamberlain lives in his new wheelhouse of dark, brooding verses that explode into powerful, anthemic choruses.

Musically, the album has a little bit of everything. “Disgusted : Disguised” opens with a dark piano backed by spacey electronics that wouldn’t sound out of place on one of Underoath’s atmospheric tracks. “Whole Again” begins with a disturbing, sinister dance beat before Chamberlain releases his inner Trent Reznor with some creepy spoken-word vocals. Bowman adds his own touch with some sweet guitar riffs throughout “Rock and Roll is Dead and So Am I”.

As odd as these combinations sound, it works and nothing ever feels totally out of place. Part of this is due to Bendeth’s touch and ability craft ear-pleasing segments that connect well. Part of it is due to Chamberlain’s obvious vision and desire for massive sounding radio rock. One listen to lead single “Through the Looking Glass” proves this. The song is hand-crafted to appeal to a huge audience, and it very likely will.

The album’s themes fit the sound and revolve around the idea of one having lost their way and searching for a new direction. Chamberlain’s struggles with regret and meaning can be found throughout, but glare most notably on the album’s powerful title track. When he unleashes the eyebrow-raising final lines of “They’re not going to change me / They’re not going to save me / I’ll just save my fucking self”, it’s clear that a new era has begun.

As a debut, Broken Compass serves itself well in introducing a fresh start for Chamberlain. Sleepwave is not meant to be an extension of Underoath, but a completely new animal with new motives and intentions. While the accessibility of the album may rub some the wrong way, it’s sure to delight others and garner a whole throng of new listeners.

Broken Compass is a radio rock record in the best way possible. There’s too much talent here to proclaim it as a guilty pleasure – instead, it chips away at the walls many of us have put up to keep “those” kind of bands out. It’s not perfect, but it’s a hell of a starting point. And if Chamberlain really can write “a hundred songs like that,” there’s going to be plenty more where this came from.

3.5/5

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Sleepwave release new song “The Wolf”

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Florida rock act Sleepwave, featuring Spencer Chamberlain (formerly of Underoath) have released a new track called “The Wolf” from their upcoming debut album Broken Compass. The song is the second track to be released from the album, which is set to drop on September 16, via Epitaph Records. You can stream the song below:

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What are your thoughts on the first two songs released by Sleepwave? Let us know in the replies!

Posted by Kiel Hauck

 

Sleepwave release “Through the Looking Glass” music video

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Florida rockers Sleepwave have released a new music video for “Through the Looking Glass”, the first single from their debut album Broken Compass. The band, fronted by former Underoath vocalist Spencer Chamberlain, is set to release the album on September 16 via Epitaph Records. Take a look at the video below:

Like what you hear? You can preorder Broken Compass on iTunes.

Posted by Kiel Hauck

 

Sleepwave stream “Through the Looking Glass”

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Florida rock act Sleepwave, featuring Spencer Chamberlain (formerly of Underoath), have announced that their new album Broken Compass will be released on September 16 via Epitaph Records. In conjunction with the announcement, the band is streaming their new single “Through the Looking Glass”, which can be heard below:

Like what you here? You can now preorder the album through the band’s official website!

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Sleepwave sign with Epitaph Records, announce tour

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Exciting news today for Sleepwave, which features former Underoath vocalist Spencer Chamberlain. The band has announced that they have signed with Epitaph Records and will be heading out on a tour with Nothing More. Check out the dates below:

Aug-05 Kansas City, MO The Riot Room
Aug-07 Grand Rapids, MI The Stache @ The Intersection
Aug-08 Chicago, IL Beat Kitchen
Aug-09 Birch Run, MI Dirt Fest 2014
Aug-11 Pittsburgh, PA Altar Bar
Aug-12 Lancaster, PA The Chameleon
Aug-13 Toronto, ON Lee’s Palace
Aug-15 Albany, NY Upstate Concert Theater
Aug-16 Portland, ME Port City
Aug-18 Baltimore, MD Ottobar
Aug-19 Charlotte, NC Amos Southend
Aug-20 Atlanta, GA Masquerade Hell
Aug-22 Nashville, TN The End
Aug-23 St. Louis, MO The Firebird
Aug-24 Springfield, MO Outland Ballroom
Aug-26 Little Rock, AR Juanitias
Aug-27 Dallas, TX Trees
Aug-29 Houston, TX Scout Bar
Aug-30 San Antonio, TX Sam’s Burger Joint
Sep-02 Tucson, AZ The Rock
Sep-03 Los Angeles, CA Troubadour
Sep-05 Denver, CO Marquis
Sep-06 Colorado Springs, CO Black Sheep
Sep-09 Seattle, WA El Corazon
Sep-10 Spokane, WA Knitting Factory
Sep-11 Boise, ID Knitting Factory
Sep-12 Portland, OR Dantes

Here’s hoping for an official debut album from the band later this year!

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Taking Back Sunday release “Flicker, Fade” music video, announce tour

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Taking Back Sunday has released the official music video for their new single “Flicker, Fade”. The song is from their upcoming release Happiness Is, which is set to be released on March 18 on Hopeless Records. Check out the video below:

In addition to the new album, Taking Back Sunday has also announced that they will be co-headlining a Spring tour with The Used, with support from Tonight Alive and Sleepwave. Dates for the tour are below:

3/14 Quiktrip Park – South By So What Dallas, TX
3/15 Backstage Live San Antonio, TX
3/16 Bayou Music Centre – HWHAP Fest Houston, TX
3/18 Marquee Theatre Phoenix, AZ
3/21 In The Venue Salt Lake City, UT
3/22 In The Venue Salt Lake City, UT
3/23 Knitting Factory Boise, ID
3/25 Warfield San Francisco, CA
3/27 Palladium Los Angeles, CA
3/28 House of Blues San Diego, CA
3/29 Extreme Thing Las Vegas, NV
4/1 Ogden Theatre Denver, CO
4/2 Sokol Omaha, NE
4/4 Eagles Ballroom Milwaukee, WI
4/5 Concord Music Hall Chicago, IL
4/6 Fillmore Detroit, MI
4/8 Kool Haus Toronto, ON
4/9 The Armory Rochester, NY
4/11 Webster Theatre Hartford, CT
4/12 House of Blues Boston, MA
4/13 Tower Theatre Philadelphia, PA
4/15 Best Buy Theatre New York, NY
4/19 Sands Bethlehem, PA
4/22 Fillmore Silver Spring, MD
4/24 The Tabernacle Atlanta, GA
4/26 Revolution Ft.Lauderdale, FL
4/27 House of Blues Orlando, FL

You can preorder Happiness Is here.

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Thursday Spotlight: Sleepwave

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Since Florida post-hardcore pioneers Underoath disbanded after their farewall tour earlier this year, fans of the band have been clamoring for the next project from frontman Spencer Chamberlain. With the announcement of Chamberlain’s new band Sleepwave, the wait is now over.

The grunge/experimental rock of Sleepwave is a far cry from Underoath’s scream laden hardcore, but it suits Chamberlain just fine. This new project lets Chamberlain’s voice shine and delves into new sonic territory. Chamberlain and company just finished their first bout of tour dates with more to come and a full length record in the works.

You can stream the band’s first released song “Rock and Roll is Dead and So Am I” below, or you can download it from Sleepwave’s website.

Be sure to follow the band on Twitter for the latest updates!