You Me At Six - Sinners Never Sleep (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

You Me At Six

Sinners Never Sleep (2011)


Sinners Never Sleep is the type of album I get up in the morning for. That is right, not the New Day Rising or Astral Weeks of this world. You see those albums have a greatness that is already established in canons that have already been established as great themselves. In Sinners Never Sleep lies untold possibilities as You Me At Six released one of the worst albums of last year. There is hope for yet untapped potential, new vision, other realms of hidden treasures and unknown pleasures. And you know what? this actually ends up being a pretty damn good pop rock record.

The bouncy rhythm that dominates album opener "Loverboy" hits unexpectedly if you've ever heard YMS' older records. Rather than post-Tell All Your Friends genre paint-by-numbers, the music, at least, is something that wouldn't have been out of place on Against Me!'s New Wave. Josh Franceschi's vocals are still rooted in a mainstream pop sensibility that holds things back a bit. On songs like "Little Death" when he adds some gravel in, Franceschi honestly sounds a bit like Chad Kroeger, so it is probably a good thing he uses it sparingly. Compared to last year's Hold Me Down all the changes big and small are completely welcome. Whether it is a straightforward rocker like "Bite My Tongue" featuring guest vocals from Bring Me The Horizon's singer that make up for Franceschi's shortcomings or the Coldplay-esque ballad "Crash" that is pushed along by keys and strings, it almost seems like an apology for how much some of their past music really just blended together.

Something that was an issue on the last record that still comes back to haunt them on Sinners Never Sleep is lack of lyrical content. Things were either ridiculous non-sense or nondescript tales of love with misogynistic attitudes creeping through, and not a whole lot has changed except they seem to have gotten better at making sense and writing things that aren't completely dismissive of women. They occasionally fall short of even that here with lines like "Life's a bitch, but I'm friends with her sister / We talked it over and it's our little secret." from "Jaws On The Floor." I understand they are trying to make a play on words involving a famous saying but what in tarnation does it mean? Thankfully while the band isn't exactly meditating on the meaning of life they've stepped up their chorus game. On Bring Me Down it appeared YMS couldn't write a hook if preventing an invasion of Daleks was at stakes, with this album they'd at least buy us a few minutes while we waited for the Doctor to devise one of his clever plans.

This may be rom-com rock designed for pretty people who can afford day-sex and other such trifles but you have to hand it to You Me At Six for creating such a listenable album so soon after dropping the lead balloon that Hold Me Down was.

P.S. we do sleep, just in bathtubs full of baby ducks' blood, duh.