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You Me At Six – Sinners Never Sleep
You Me At Six
Sinners Never Sleep - Virgin Records
You Me At Six seems to have the same mistaken understanding about what it takes to “mature” as musicians as most flashy pop-punks coming to terms with shifting trends and aging realities. Someone needs to tell these bands than simply reducing their tempo and blasting the bass shouldn’t be equated with maturity. And while You Me At Six needed to grow up from the start, simply switching gears from Fall Out Boy to Twin Atalntic isn’t enough to make me care about the Weybridge, Surrey quintet.
Their latest album, Sinners Never Sleep, is a case of too generic for radio, and not hooky enough for their existing fan base. All the right elements are there by any producer’s standards, but they largely lack any sort of impetus to make their audience care. Since the band doesn’t seem to put forth an effort on their part, why should I? So I’m going to borrow a sentence from my first You Me At Six review and plunk it down right here since it’s as true now as the first time it was written: “The whole affair feels so bland I could barely even single out tracks for this review.”
Some might cry foul, pointing to the obvious shifts in tempo between a few landmark tracks. I’ll fire back pointing out that the difference between the energetic “This Is The First Thing” and the slowly accented “No One Does It Better” is superficial. True, they both come from different cookie cutter molds, but they’re formulaic through and through. The former lands hollow hooks that I’m at a loss for remembering without having the song blasting directly from my headphones, and the latter fills a quota for that quintessential “introspective” breakup track that relies on its slow pace as a defining crutch.
For those who make it through the album’s first half, one song does stand out as worth pulling from the mix. “Little Death” finds a middle ground between the push and pull of tempos, using sonic shifts to develop the album’s only memorable chorus. “We are not your lovers, we are not your friends” cries Josh Franceschi with a climaxing “oomph” absent from most. It’s catchy without ever reaching excess, and retracts back to the shadows for the comparatively low-key verse. “Little Death” achieves balance, which is something I can’t say for the remainder of Sinners Never Sleep.
Has You Me At Six changed their output from their beginnings? The simple answer is yes, but that shouldn’t be confused with exhibiting musical growth. To borrow a phrase from “Crash,” Sinners Never Sleep is “meaningless routine” born in the producer’s box as radio-friendsly business as usual.