The Rain Museum

Armor For Sleep
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September 9th, 2022


Armor For Sleep - "The Rain Museum" Marks Triumphant Return To Their Nostalgic Early/Mid 2000s Emo


After a 15-year hiatus, early 2000s emo stalwarts Armor for Sleep have come full circle with their 4th proper LP titled The Rain Museum, backed by Equal Vision Records, the 30+ year old independent label that put them on the map with their self-titled debut LP and sophomore follow up “What to Do When You Are Dead,” a journey that began for the band over 20 years ago.

We’ve all heard this story before, and in the early 2000s, many of the young bands coming out of the emo/pop punk era started jumping ship from indies to majors, hoping to gain more widespread exposure, as young kids in their late teens dreaming of becoming big rock stars. Unfortunately for many, those moves ultimately served as the beginning to the end. And Armor for Sleep were one of the many bands who unfortunately fell victim to this. Following the major independent success of their sophomore LP “What To Do When You Are Dead”, a classic from the mid 2000’s, the band signed to Warner Brothers to release their major label debut “Smile For Them” with a powerhouse production and budget. While I still believe that album is highly underrated, it was ill-received by their fans and resulted in lackluster sales. The band called it a day after releasing a final EP, “The Way Out is Broken,” in 2008, a collection of songs recorded for their major label debut that didn’t make the cut. The title track of that EP still serves as one of their best songs to date.

Fast forward 15 years later, and we have “The Rain Museum,” Armor for Sleep’s latest offering, and where 2007s “Smile For Them” felt and sounded like it had the pressure of big label influence looming over them in the output of those songs, “The Rain Museum” feels like a full return to the dreamy yet loud hook-laden emo nostalgia that was perfected on their classic “What To Do When You Are Dead”; only now, they sound more polished, hold a little less angst, and carry a new sense of confidence and some stylistic twists and turns. The new album makes for an outstanding return after a 15-year absence, with varying tempos and dynamics, classic Armor For Sleep guitar tones and melodies, huge build ups and trademark sing along choruses. The album even features a monster ballad called “New Rainbows” at the midway point of the record, one that will have cell phones lit up and raised in the air, before the second half of the album kicks in.

The A Side of the LP also houses songs like “How Far Apart”, the first single released for the LP, “World Burn Down”, and “In This Nightmare Together”, which all make for classic live sing along AFS anthems; while slow burners like “Rather Drown”, “A Teardrop on the Surface of the Sun” and “Tomorrow Faded Away” dominate the B Side of the LP. The songs are layered with jangly guitars, Jorgenson's angelic voice, and excellent dynamic crescendos into explosive choruses before the distortion kicks in, and are sure to spark a range of emotions throughout the listening experience.

One of the standout tracks on the album is the single “Whatever Who Cares”, a song co-written by Kamtin Mohager, of Chain Gang of 1974, Heavenward and formerly Teenage Wrist. This is one of the more upbeat songs on The Rain Museum, carried by Kam’s driving bass line and Jorgenson’s chiming guitar leads and trademark vocal melodies, culminating in a sing-along chorus ending with the apathetic song title lyric “Whatever, Who Cares” in classic AFS melancholy fashion.

It’s quite evident that frontman and main singer-songwriter Ben Jorgenson put a lot of time and emotion into writing these songs, and the split from his wife of several years certainly had an impact––you can feel his pain throughout the album. While the songs may sound sad, they also sound triumphant, perhaps reflecting the joy taken in this return to his musical creativity that has been absent for so many years. I’m not one to highlight anything joyful about a failed marriage, but if there’s a silver lining to Ben’s personal life, it’s that it brought these incredible songs out of him and inspired him to get back to what he loves, writing and recording big, dark, guitar-driven emo rock anthems with huge melodies and monster hooks. I’m here for it, and hope this is the beginning of a rejuvenated Armor for Sleep. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take another 15 years to get some new music out of them. We aren’t getting any younger!

RIYL: Taking Back Sunday, Senses Fail, The Early November, Bayside

By Jason Gordon
Jason Gordon image

Armor For Sleep have just announced the long awaited return with their 4th LP and first in over 15 years titled "The Rain Museum" set for release on September 9th, 2022 via Equal Vision Records, the label that started it all for them. They have also just released the first single titled "How Far Apart" taken from the forthcoming LP, an emotional banger that wouldn't sound out of place on their classic What to Do When Your Dead LP, and harkens back to the early 2000s classic Armor For Sleep big emo rock sound, only bigger and more matured. If this song is any indication of what's to come, we are in store for something great. The official video can be streamed below.

About The Rain Museum:

It’s been almost 20 years since the release of Armor For Sleep’s seminal full-length, What To Do When You Are Dead, but the album still resonates with much of the band’s fanbase. Today, for the first time in 15 years, the band released new music and it is sure to ignite the same passion from fans that made the band’s Equal Vision Records debut so important to them. "How Far Apart" is an evocative anthem sure to leave fans feeling it in the pit of their stomach as lead singer, Ben Jorgensen, belts “you used to be my home / I found you in my bones” in the track’s immediately addictive chorus. “How Far Apart” is full of the emotive, hard-hitting drums and reverb-soaked guitars that were so pivotal to the success of What To Do When You Are Dead, but with the maturity one would expect from an artist of Jorgensen’s caliber after years refining his craft. It serves as a perfect introduction to what fans can expect on the band’s upcoming full-length, The Rain Museum, due out on Equal Vision Records this fall. 

For the official video, which debuted alongside the song, Armor For Sleep tapped director Jesse Korman(Hot Water Music, The Juliana Theory). The collaboration yielded an emotionally-gripping tale of a life lived in reverse. The visual is cinematically beautiful and complex, matching the intensity of the track in lock-step. The band has always been celebrated for the cohesiveness of their releases - from narrative to artwork to videos - and this visual once again lives up to that high standard of cohesiveness and creativity. You can watch the official video now on YouTube or listen to it on any of your favorite streaming platforms. 

Quote from lead singer, Ben Jorgensen: 

"We are very excited to share our new album, 'The Rain Museum' with everyone. Back in 2020, at the start of the pandemic and at the start of our collective lockdown, I made it my mission to finish writing a concept album that I had the idea for for many years but was never able to bring to life. 'The Rain Museum' was initially a short story I wrote many years ago about a post-apocalyptic Earth and a mysterious museum in the middle of the desert. Weaving the story into an album was going to be my quarantine project. Unfortunately, my marriage of nearly eight years and basically my entire life fell apart as I was beginning the writing process. The one thing I had in my life to divert my attention from what I was going through was the creative process of writing that album… so I decided to push through and keep working on the record…but something weird happened. Because I couldn’t ignore what I was going through personally, I wound up writing myself and what I was going through into the story of the album and into the world I had been creating for this concept record. In the end, it’s an album about facing some of the most painful parts of being human and how lost we can get. I just hope it will speak to people going through their own dark times, as my favorite art certainly helped me get through mine."

“How Far Apart” is the first single from The Rain Museum, the band’s upcoming full-length that is 17 years in the making. It’s a concept album built around a post-apocalyptic world where weather no longer exists on planet earth and people come to a mysterious museum in the middle of the desert to look back on what life used to be like. Originally planned as the follow up to What to Do When You Are Dead, the album had been shelved due to “bad advice” leading the band in another direction. Fast forward to the global pandemic of 2020, and the events of the real world encouraged Jorgensen to revisit the concept. Concurrently, his marriage of eight years began to fall apart, leaving Jorgensen to further infuse the science-fiction story with elements of his real life. The result is a beautiful and devastating 12 song collection that draws upon the best elements of Armor For Sleep’s catalog while incorporating elevated songwriting and composition. After a fifteen year absence from the studio, The Rain Museum will undoubtedly prove to be well-worth the wait for old and new fans alike.