You Me At Six catapulted to fame through a timeless pop-punk formula: Catchy choruses, power chords, and a teenage fan base. It’s now been four years since the band’s debut album, and their third release has been highly anticipated. With album number three, the group had to make the all-important choice of whether to settle into the specific, genrefied sound that made them famous or to begin experimenting with different instruments.
The band has touted Sinners Never Sleep as a step in the latter direction, calling it the sound of “a band who have enjoyed their youth but who are moving into new pastures.” Yet the hope of something fresh and exciting fades by the minute mark in the opening track, “Loverboy”. The song moves straight into the classic mould of the band’s previous hits, with singer Josh Franceshi belting out angst-filled lyrics and a simple earworm of a riff playing over and over in the background.
The two noticeable attempts to deviate from formula come in the form of “When We Were Younger”, a gentle soft-rock tune about childhood, and “Bite My Tongue”, which moves in the opposite direction with a guest metalcore verse from rocker Oli Sykes. They both involve changes in speed but not in mood, as the band clings to its safe simplistic melodies and dramatic themes. Neither song is very successful at diversifying You Me at Six’s sound, and the overall effect on the album is awkward and fragmented.
Sinners Never Sleep comes across as a 20-something half-heartedly attempting to prove his independence to the world. He goes out and gets a part-time job, but still lives at home and gets his mom to do his laundry. It’s an unconvincing attempt at originality from a band that has yet to prove itself as more than another forgettable blip in the world of pop culture.
VANCOUVER-BASED BAND ELIAS is set to release their sophomore album Fossils on Feb. 14. For those of you spending Valentine’s Day alone, the dark and sometimes depressing album will be the perfect companion to your loneliness.
Miserable wailing aside, band members Brian Healey (guitar, lead vocals), Rob Tornroos (guitar, back-up vocals), and Stefan Tavares (drums) put forth a complete and solid album with lyrics that will compliment your self-pity.
Luckily there are also some upbeat gems, such as the title track, “Fossils”, which functions as an introduction to the theme of reflection that continues throughout the album. The trio makes use of strong vocals but is weighed down by a sound that, although complex, does not strike the listener as something new and unique.
The album flows as a whole and paints a picture of self-reflection. Though the lyrics and sound are intricate and fast paced, sometimes the tracks blend together too well, making the release sound repetitive.
Anyone looking for a rock alternative to the excess of folk-based bands sprouting up in the Canadian scene, Elias will make a nice addition to your Canuck pop-rock playlist.
IRST AID KIT’S album The Lion’s Roar starts out with a passionate song about cowardice and relationships. It sets the stage for an album full of emotional and ardent lyrics, ranging from upbeat songs to ballads.
The Swedish duo may be made up of two young sisters, but their lyrics demonstrate maturity and strength beyond their years. The sisters’ sound contains powerful, folksy, vocal harmonies that are backed by catchy guitar and strong rhythms.
The title track of the album, “The Lion’s Roar”, is by far the best song on the album. The next song, “Emmylou”, has an honesty to its lyrics that is extremely endearing. As far as love songs go, the mood to “Emmylou” is upbeat and catchy. The rest of the album continues in this same vein—lovely songs defined by their beautiful female vocals.
The final song, “King of the World”, ends the album on a musically pleasant note with more acoustic guitar and intelligent lyrics. Rather than being just another love song, it talks about the purpose of living and how short life truly is.
First Aid Kit may be a young band, but their music is mature and has a fun edge to it. After giving the album a listen, one of the songs from The Lion’s Roar will be the next song you’re humming as you walk down the street.
Vérité Recording Company
WILL WHITWHAM IS better known to Canadian indie music fans as the lead singer of the folk band The Wilderness of Manitoba, but his latest musical endeavour is a solo album under the moniker Lake Forest. Fans need not be wary of Whitwham’s newest tunes; the album, Silver Skies, is full of peaceful folk tunes with nature imagery, similar to the artist’s previous work.
Starting with a two-minute instrumental introduction entitled “Cathedral”, Silver Skies doesn’t begin on a promising note, but the album only improves afterward.
The next two tracks, “Autumn Skies” and “Whispers”, have vocal qualities reminiscent of Bon Iver. The song “Untitled” follows, which brings new depth to the album with some catchy guitar and more folksy vocal harmonies.
Other noteworthy tracks include “Silver Stars”, which starts out with sombre but beautiful guitar and vocals. The song says to “count the clouds above your house,” bringing forth the album’s nature feel. Symbols like the sky, stars, sun, and moon continue throughout the record.
Overall, the album is rather melancholic, and while it is certainly beautiful music, it’s probably best listened to while doing something else. The melodies are subtle and the tracks become more interesting after several repeats. Even though it’s not the most captivating music, Will Whitwham has created an introspective and interesting folk album worthy of a listen.