Straight away, it's clear that the change of style from pop punk to hard rock is a good choice from the band. It is a style that suits them much better. While the overall tone and feeling from the first two releases seem somewhat artificial, Sinners Never Sleep sees a real emotional drain throughout. It's emphasized in the new style of riffage. Max Heyler plays guitar with a more streamlined hard rock style rather than the increasingly repetitive jagged pop punk riffs heard previously and they really help covey the albums themes of bitterness, melancholy and tragedy. The sheer power the rest of the band deliver, including the occasionally widdly solo from Chris Miller really manages to take these feelings to an extra level of depth and a real sense of fire and fury is flowing through the veins of all the band. Most likely since we are essentially hearing the band's therapy of relieving themselves of various touring pressures and bitterness developed towards each other, or more significantly the tension that built between the rest of the band with frontman Josh Franceschi, who is sounding better than ever on this album. Franceschi's soaring vocals have the tendency to feel a little out of place on Take Off Your Colours, but here they are really in their natural element, as like they music, they also serve as a fantastic way to convey the emotion of the song. His mellow vocals used on the more melancholic songs like Crash and When We Were Younger really deliver the underlying message of hopelessness and self-loathing the songs intend to deliver. When he wants to sound angry in such tracks as Bite My Tongue and Time is Money, his change of tone manages to convey the mood effortlessly. However those two tracks have a little more to keep this feel of anger flowing.
See much speculation and thought from fans was put forward after it was discovered these Bite My Tongue and Time Is Money was to feature guest vocals from two well known practitioners of metalcore, Bite My Tongue featuring guest vocals from Bring Me the Horizon's Oli Sykes and Time is Money featuring Parkway Drive's Winston McCall. Their vocals are awesome and really help emphasize the aggression the band were aiming to deliver on the songs. There is a chance that they might divide opinions among fans, particularly McCall's more guttural, death growls, however hearing such vocals does really elevate the fury of these songs and as a fan of all types of rock, the idea of Parkway Drive and You Me At Six collaborating is just so surreal that the whole premise of it alone makes it great instantly.
And so all these elements, the guest scream vocals, the more streamlined hard rock sound, the increase soundscaping and general creativity makes Sinners Never Sleep a really great album. An album that may annoy some long time fans, but at the same time rope in a whole lot of new listeners. With a more mature sound and a more serious and passionate attitude for making music, You Me At Six have come back with their best album to date.
You Me At Six's Sinners Never Sleep is out on Monday via Virgin records. The band tour the UK from the 9th-15th October.