Reviewed by Meghan Player
About a year or so ago, I stumbled across a band called Sinner Sinners. They were loud, infectious and called to my teenage obsession with horror-punk legends, The Misfits. Having added their first album, subsequent EP – and a couple of t-shirts – to my growing collection, I was certainly looking forward to what the band would produce with their new album, XI.
First of all, the artwork. Now, for a review to begin with talking about an albums artwork is unusual, but bear with me. It was this simple image that made me want to hear the album more. It’s striking, yet anonymous. An enigma if you will. While I’m sure it does have a reasoning – one that I’m obviously not aware of – it’s this image that prepares my brain for the unique and intriguing sound that is about to spill out of my speakers.
Opening with Modern Man [and the trademark ‘horror-punk’ melody], the band launch into an infectious romp of loud, unapologetic noise that manages to kick-start your listening experience with a 1-2-punch. Husband and wife duo – Steve and Sam ‘Sinner‘ – have doubled what they do best, using their contrasting vocals to create a fearsome growl. And damn it’s good.
No Hard Feelings picks up where the previous track left off, with a distinct LA punk vibe seeping into the overall sound. However, it’s the slowed-down bridge section – that launches into one final, grinding guitar solo – that highlights the track; offering you variety and intensity that you didn’t seem to expect.
Darkness For Ever is a definite front-runner on the album, highlighting the bands versatility whilst still remaining true to their core sound and style. Yet again, the melody is unpredictable, veering off into directions that, not only keep you interested, but almost begging for more. The unpredictability of the album lulls you into a false sense of security, as the opening – albeit ominous – bars of Rise Up take centre stage. Then BOOM, the frenzied vocals and melody blast out like machine-gun fire, making your heart jerk with surprise.
It’s as the album begins its wind-down to the finale, that you start to hear some familiar tunes – with A.F.O and Reckless [previously part of EP, Pardon My French] – given the limelight they again deserve. The subtle electronic tones weave themselves brilliantly within the angst of punk vibes, whilst seemingly adding another well-deserved feather in the bands cap.
The simply titled – but no less contradictory – Relax takes the final honors, grabbing your sense of wonder before blasting the implied melancholy into complete obliteration. It’s the contrast between frenzied and subtlety that leaves a lasting impression; an impression you certainly want your final track to have.
Undoubtedly, XI is Sinner Sinners most versatile album to date. The bands style and sound have moved naturally forward, showcasing their command of blending different genres, without disrespecting the music that came before it. Certainly, it is the unpredictability that makes it stand out; a multiple personality disorder of an album that assures you’ll never know what is going to happen next, but can take light in the fact, it will never be boring.