You Me at Six, Kerrang! Award winners for Best British Band, are back with their brand new album Sinners Never Sleep, and it looks to be an album that will cement their status as a household name on the contemporary rock scene.
Known for their radio friendly brand of rock, YMAS have a history that revolves around crowds of screaming teeny-boppers and making the female race generally a bit hot around the collar. Yet with the release of their third studio album, they seem adamant to shake this image, exhibiting a more mature and gritty sound than fans are used to, even featuring collaborations with Bring Me the Horizon’s Oli Sykes, and Parkway Drive vocalist Winston McCall. But don’t get too excited – this may be an album that will continue to cement YMAS in the rock scene, but this change of tone makes for a bit of a disappointing record.
At points, the maturity they exhibit seems forced and false, dragging their radio friendly sheen through the bushes and roughing it up against its will. ‘Bite My Tongue’ is an example of such a track. In isolation it is not a bad song – there are some impressive instrumental build-ups that lead to nothing, which is pretty innovative and makes the listener pay attention, whilst the middle section is dark and grimy with some gravelly screamo added in for good measure. Yet, in the context of the album, and indeed the entire YMAS oeuvre, it just doesn’t sound right.
At other points though, YMAS are the same band we have come to know and love. ‘Reckless’ is a catchy number, with some more complicated guitar work than we are perhaps used to from the Surrey quartet, and ‘The Dilemma’ is a gem of a track. At first, it appears to be a run of the mill upbeat track from YMAS with some pretty standard melodies and orchestration; but the horn section that was added in towards the end is astounding and surprising, with a big band feel suddenly becoming dominant in the track that dragged this song from the realms of mediocrity by the scruff of its neck. But unfortunately you may never get this far in the record.
Overall it’s a bit of a disappointing album. YMAS are simply trying too hard to be a grown-up act: some tracks are gritty and intense, which pegs them awkwardly to the heavy prog rock genre, whilst at the same time almost half of the songs are slow numbers, which both slows the pace of the overall album and makes it one that is uninteresting to listen to from one song to the next. However, it certainly won’t lose any fans – it’s, to an extent, what we are used to from YMAS, but it won’t be an album that their largely female and teenage fan base will be screaming about.
Songs to download: ‘Crash’, ‘Loverboy’ ‘The Dilemma’