While She Sleeps – You Are We

Cards on the table, MonkHammer has never been a fan of While She Sleeps: too much bluster, too little cohesion, too much shouty shouty and above all, way too much hype. Album number three however, is where that changes. ‘You Are We’ is by no means perfect, but it does reflect a far tighter, more considered approach to craft, replacing the ramshackle garages of the past with an artisan’s workshop – a place for everything and everything in its place. Whilst it would be easy to attribute a lot of this change to the enhanced emphasis on clean vocals, that paints only a small part of the picture, as this is still full-throated, full-paced metalcore, offering a cleaner palette but by no means a clean one. The guitars in particular sound absolutely massive from start to finish, swarming like hornets to an embarrassingly priapic roar. George Harrison’s guitar may gently weep, BB King’s may sing the blues: Sleeps’ bellow like Brian Blessed on a conjugal visit. But as impassioned and accomplished as it all is, and it truly is, there remains something missing. While there are no weak songs, and in truth all 11 would work well as singles, there is also not that one rampant, stand-out highlight that kicks down doors with both feet screaming “look at me”, and the album aches for it. Thankfully though, what it lacks in quick fixes it more than makes up for in grower status, with little flourishes unfolding on every listen – the down-turned inflections of an unspooling tape on ‘In Another Now’; the millipedal fretwork skittering under the opening barrage of ‘Wide Awake’ – petals that distract enough from the fact that ‘Steal the Sun’ is almost inseparable from 36 Crazyfists’ ‘At The End Of August’ for the first 25 seconds, and ‘In Another Now’ is basically Crowded House for the first 15. It’s safe to say Sleeps had a lot to prove with ‘You Are We’, and realistically this should be more than enough to dry the ink in the history books and push them into bigger venues, it just would’ve been nice to have had a career-defining anthem or two atop the cake.


Categories: Album Reviews, Reviews

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