Christina M. Hinke


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Armor for Sleep: indie rock with a metaphorical style

Associated Press Writer
December 4, 2003

OLD BRIDGE, N.J. (AP) _ Shelving books isn't a normal rock 'n' roll education, but it worked for Ben Jorgensen, lead singer of the band Armor for Sleep.

"When I was in college I was going to be an English major, I worked at a publishing company in New York City, and one of my jobs was going around the library to alphabetize books," says Jorgensen, face hidden under tendrils of black hair. "They published a lot of beat poetry like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, and I would sit down there for hours, while I was supposed to be doing my work, and read."

Now he's the writer. Jorgensen penned all the lyrics on Armor for Sleep's first album, "Dream to Make Believe," which was released last summer on the independent label Equal Vision Records. His songs are full of ominous introspection - dark, deep and melancholy, with a vocal style ranging from quiet to gut-wrenching.

The band consists of Jorgensen and bassist Anthony DiLonno, plus guitarist P.J. DeCicco and drummer Nash Breen, who are cousins. All four guys grew up together in New Jersey.

During a recent photo shoot, the four bandmates, all in their early 20s, slouched around in low-rise jeans, long disheveled hair and tight T-shirts with offbeat logos.

"I've been practicing my posing," joked Jorgensen.

The album is based on one theme, stemming from a college poetry class where Jorgensen had to write haikus.

"I really hated it because I felt so restricted but after awhile I started realizing since you're forced to write in one specific way your originality can come through," he said.

The result was lyrics like the title track from the album: "I wake up and 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 / I hope that dreams come when I die so we can talk, I won't wake up."

This scenario is sprinkled throughout the album, and is captured again in "Frost and Front Steps": "I'll sit on the front steps and wonder if I'll completely freeze out here / I hear you from inside you're laughing the way you do when I'm not there / and you know me I'll wait around I'm standing outside now."

Last summer, at their album release party at Birch Hill Nite Club in Old Bridge, Armor's "moody rock" sound got the crowd of about 500 raging, and they chanted for an encore after the show was over.

Not bad for a librarian. Although his approach to songwriting may be different, Jorgensen says, "we just rock. We play songs just like everyone else."
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