by Natalie Dest
If you listen closely, you can hear the newest addition to the pop-punk music scene climb their way up the ladder rather quickly.
It’s no secret that 2017 was a year filled with fresh and creative voices sweeping through, proudly introducing emotional and strongly-constructed albums. The brand new Chicago band, Sleep On It has done just this, who recently showcased their full-length album made up of fine-tuned vocals, absolute energy and uniquely-styled songwriting.
Fans of bands such as Knuckle Puck, State Champs, Grayscale and Tonight Alive can appreciate Sleep On It’s style of music similarly found in the pop-punk scene, but it’s the band’s memorable verses and heightened instrumental production that sets them apart.
“Overexposed” serves as the band’s first LP after the band signed to Equal Vision Records in August 2016. Since their EP “Lost Along The Way,” “Overexposed” is just the beginning for the band’s shot at proving their worth in a rather crowded genre.
The album kicks off with the band’s impressive pop-punk anthem titled “A New Way Home.” With a strong vocal melody, this opener is an epic track that sets the tone for the rest of the album with its heavy guitar riffs and driving drum and bass lines. Lead vocalist Zech Pluister confesses that he’s “been trying to lose myself for a year now / trying to find a splash of color in this grayscale life.”
This fast-tempo track is well balanced between impressive instrumentation and lyrics, causing strong anticipation for the following songs.
With the track “Window” following the album’s opener, this upbeat and lyrically earnest song manages to maintain the band’s many infectious hooks and melodies. The band continues to deliver their high energy while showing off their raw side, singing the lyrics “You were a window / I saw it all differently through you.”
Being the first single off of “Overexposed,” “Distant” lands at track number three, strongly showcasing the band’s punk roots. With the back and forth between the heavy guitar patters and intense drums, this track perfectly embodies the drive of pop-punk music. With the opening lines of “Feel the tension / I’m a funeral procession / Driving circles around memories I’ve lost,” “Distant” is one of the band’s prime examples for their memorable lyrics and uniquely-styled songwriting.
The instrumental material that makes up the track “What We Stay Alive For,” instantly hits the audience with a catchy groove. The repeating guitar riff slowly progress into a more powerful and energetic melody, making this song an interesting listen. The song ends with a sudden change of octaves in the chorus, when Pulister sings the lyrics “Looking up I see the sun in my eyes / I feel it getting warmer as the darkness dies,” giving the track a more notable ending.
Following “What We Stay Alive For” is an early released track off the album titled “Fireworks,” – rightfully the band’s best pop-punk banger on the entire LP. Featuring State Champs lead vocalist Derek DiScanio and fellow producer of “Overexposed,” the emotionally-driven track benefits from DiScanio’s haunting vocals.
“Fireworks” is a song bound to be stuck in your head and is a clear showcase of Sleep On It’s catchy melodies. The song toys with optimism and certainty that things can get better through the lyrics “I’ll be fine / Don’t give up on me / I’ll come around.” With a newly released music video, this track confidently serves as the band’s exposure for their newest full album.
Although the album includes many staple pop-punk anthems, it does have its fair share of softer, pop-influenced ballads with tracks such as “A Brighter Shade of Blue.” This acoustic tune has a prominent melodic sound paired with gentle and relaxed vocals and sung with heavy sentiment. As the song progresses, the band provides their audience with a track that makes it easy to feel, hear and internalize the emotions that fill the lyrics.
Following the more intimate track on the album, the song “Overexposed” channels the band’s punk background, also serving as the title of their first full-length album. The song begins with a percussion feature that quickly drives towards the vocals in the first verse, initially establishing a memorable beat.
With lyrics such as “Oh sweet oxygen let me breathe again / With your hands around my neck / I’m starting to give in,” Pulister’s smooth vocals give these lyrics the punk drive the band thrives off of.
Concluding the album is the track “Autumn (I Wish I Was Better),” a rather refreshing and honest presence from the band. This song perfectly demonstrates the band’s own characteristic sound and their use in vocal techniques that ultimately amplify the intensity of the lyrics.
With the inclusion of a beautiful instrumental interlude that drives to the end of the album, the audience is left on a high note. This track was fitting to close “Overexposed” by highlighting the band’s interesting material and hard-hitting songwriting.
Overall, “Overexposed” fulfills its purpose in producing big choruses and tracks that dive deeper than the typical pop-punk cliches. For Sleep On It’s first full LP, Zech Pluister’s vocals help deliver the band’s maturity, almost a soulful narrative on hopeless relationships, lost faith and self-improvement.
With a promising combined set of songs, this band is worth believing in. It’s time for fans in the pop-punk music scene to wake up, open their eyes, and stop sleeping on Sleep On It.
Make sure to follow the band on Twitter @sleeponitband.