Sound — 8
"Sinners Never Sleep" (Surrey based pop-punkers You Me At Six's third opus) represents the band's most mature offering to date. The album, written off the back of some of the band's most testing times to date, showcases a band who have grown up a great deal, yet don't stray all that far from their core sound. There is enough here to satisfy any fans You Me At Six have gained over their last two albums. The guitar tone is stock YMAS all the way, as is the song writing which remains (for the most part and impressively given the band's tender age) reasonably competent. In that vein, Sinners gets off to a flying start. Lead single and opener Loverboy has a chorus and vocal hooks that lodge themselves in your cranium straight off the bat and the second half of the one-two punch Jaws On The Floor is all the good things YMAS are about crammed into one tune. However, it's when Josh Francesci begins to draw lyrical content from the bands hard times that the band really kicks up a gear. "Bite My Tongue", effectively penned by Francesci as a hate song about his own band mates, is unquestionably the album's zenith both musically (despite Oli Sykes turning up almost solely to mispronounce the word you in the middle of the song's bridge) and lyrically and is probably the best evidence there is of the band maturing over time. "Little Death" and "Time Is Money", the latter featuring a slightly strange yet somehow effective cameo from Parkway Drive frontman Winston McCall, conclude a contingent of heavier pop punk material that any band to have ever lead the genre could be reasonably proud of. As much as the band threaten to progress on "Sinners" though, there is an equal tendency to regress and remain firmly in their comfort zone. Already a relatively ballad heavy album, the quality of the heavier tunes is harmed somewhat by the inclusion of ballads such as Reckless and Little Bit Of Truth which are somewhat average, could easily have slotted into the band's previous works and end up polluting the middle of the album. There are some experiments which haven't quite come off too. The Dilemma sees the addition of horns which don't really add anything much and brooding closer When I Was Younger is a strange parting gift from an album which is rather more upbeat and hopeful on the whole.
Lyrics — 6
Lyrically and vocally, "Sinners Never Sleep" is much a caricature of Jekyll and Hyde. Josh Francesci is capable of writing a chorus that most pop punk vocalists could only dream about ("Loverboy"), but the album isn't without the odd forced delivery or rushed vocal line ("The Dilemma"). Lyrically too, the story is not dissimilar. Josh Francesci is at his best when he ditches the stereotypical pop punk themes of love and lost love past, present and future and gets to grips with his introspect. "Bite My Tongue" and "Time Is Money" are top lyrical moments, with Francesci turning inner angst and frustration into cohesive and non-generic lyrical content. There the aforementioned guest appearances too which despite seeming ill-fitting at first, make much more sense the more you listen to the album. All in all, the positives outweigh the negatives.
Overall Impression — 7
"Sinners Never Sleep" is by and large decent album. It's a progression and a step forwards in so far as mature song-writing goes and it's likely to propel them onto the British Arena tour circuit in their own right. The style shift isn't as dramatic as press hyping the album has made out, yet it is still significant enough so that the band remains very relevant. Whilst there are kinks still to be ironed out, this is a solid record from band who appear to know where they've come from and seem to have a good idea about where they're going too.