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You Me at Six Sinners Never Sleep Review

Album. Released 2011.  

BBC Review

On which the Surrey band matures, largely to the benefit of their material.

Alistair Lawrence 2011

Out of their teens and three albums into their career, Sinners Never Sleep arrives with the declaration that You Me at Six have matured.

Abandoning their adolescent pop-rock completely would’ve been a rash move, though, and they appear to know it. Poster boy frontman Josh Franceschi has always been smart enough to make sure we empathise with him about being unlucky in love, rather than simply appealing for sympathy. That said, most of their predominantly teenage female fanbase would probably be happy to lick his, er, wounds.

As lead single Loverboy saunters then swaggers, it’s audibly business as usual. Jaws on the Floor follows it with typically great break-up lines such as "Such a pretty thing, so much prettier without me", but is essentially more of the same.

It takes Bite My Tongue for the first signs of the inter-band disharmony that briefly tested them to surface. One particular barb from Franceschi – "I might be proud but at least I’m proud of something / You’re taking pride in becoming nothing" – spears the target he’s painted on his bandmates’ backs. It’s the first sign of a musical evolution, too, but Oli Sykes’ shouty cameo is pretty pointless, as it’s hard not to miss the irony that they’ve just conveyed angst much better without needing to raise their voices.

What follows is delivered with the best intentions but mostly lacks the same immediacy and impact. Little Bit of Truth is the most obvious attempt of several to become a Biffy Clyro-style, respectable rock band – strings and all – while No One Does It Better sounds like a predictably-sweet antidote to the bitterness of Bite My Tongue. Time is Money proves they should stay away from the moshcore trend, but The Dilemma’s revisionist love song is the band at their best: infectious, fun and intelligent.

Looking to the future and into the past at the same time, Sinners Never Sleep is destined to sound a bit like a (frequently awkward) transition. Still, for a record that could’ve gone in one of two directions, it manages the neat trick of going in both.

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