I think that one of the worst criticisms somebody can make of an album is calling it “boring.” “Boring” is so subjective. It’s meaningless, because what I find boring might be absolutely enthralling to you.
That being said, let’s not call Los Angeles natives Sir Sly’s debut album “You Haunt Me” “boring.” Instead, let’s use words like “derivative,”“sleepy,” and “uninspired.”
Before we get there, though, let’s look at what is actually good about this album.
Sir Sly certainly experiments with different sounds on “You Haunt Me.” The first two tracks of the album hearken back to trip hop acts like Portishead and are filled with dreamy guitar parts. But then, the album transitions to an indie rock sound that fans of Bastille will find (all too) familiar. This switch is then made repeatedly as the album goes on.
In addition to this, the instrumental parts on “You Haunt Me” are pretty good. Some standouts in this department are the first part of the track “Nowhere/Bloodlines Pt. I” and “Inferno.” The instrumentation on these tracks is absolutely brilliant, and far more interesting than the vocals.
And here we arrive at one of the central problems of “You Haunt Me”: the vocals. Specifically, I take issue with some of the, frankly, dumb lyrics. On the title track of the album, lead singer Landon Jacobs starts the song by stating, “I’m selfish, never didn’t think about anyone but myself.”
Issues with double negatives aside, someone needs to tell Mr. Jacobs that we all know what the definition of selfish is. Lyrics like this plague the album.
But the biggest problem with this album is that it simply does nothing new. As I said before, Sir Sly feels more or less the same as many of the other indie rock groups out there, like Bastille and Young the Giant. If you are already a fan of those groups, you have already heard this album.
This is not to say that this album is all bad. Some tracks are pretty good, like the previously mentioned “Inferno,” which features the lead singer of MS MR, Lizzy Plapinger. Plapinger’s vocals serve as an interesting counterpoint to Jacobs’ to make for an overall very good experience. Unfortunately, Plapinger’s appearance only serves to remind me that I could be listening to a far more interesting artist than Sir Sly.
Sir Sly’s “You Haunt Me” is, ultimately, more of the same from the indie rock scene, and almost sounds like it was written with the sole intention of being the background music for an American Eagle commercial. If that’s your thing, check this album out, but I’m giving it a 2 out of 5.