It’s been impressive watching You Me At Six grow up over the last few years, from opening club shows for other promising bands that either fell by the wayside or broke up, all the way to selling out the historic Wembley Arena back in 2012. A new chapter beckons for the Surrey pop-punks who are looking to continue where ‘Sinners Never Sleep’ left them, as a dominant force in the UK scene yet still looking to top their previous work.
As an alt-rock band, strong lead singles are essential to rival pop/dance acts for a place on the mainstream circuit. ‘Cavalier Youth’ had to deliver punchy sing-a-long tracks that were able to make an immediate impact on a mass audience if You Me At Six were to break new ground with this album, so there are no surprises that the band have toned down the dark sinister nature of ‘Sinners Never Sleep’ and have instead returned with a more widely appreciated tone.
‘Fresh Start Fever’ and ‘Lived A Lie’ lead the line as top class additions to the YMAS music catalogue, with the former being chosen as a BBC Radio 1 ‘Grade A’ single receiving regular airtime on daytime shows, the latter being featured on international video game FIFA 2014 and both being heard in sports stadiums across the country.
“We are believers” repeats singer Josh Franceschi and surely many future audiences for the epic bridge in ‘Lived A Lie’, which just compliments the chorus even more, while ‘Fresh Start Fever’ opens with a tense invitational introduction before throwing you into the gripping action, just as Fall Out Boy treated us with ‘The Phoenix’ last year.
Variety allows the band to play their whole hand of tricks, and ‘Cavalier Youth’ has dealt up the lot. Crashing cymbals melt into the guitar for ‘Love Me Like You Used To’ before a more ‘Hold Me Down’ style chorus is sure to stir with the dancers who get the record, yet ‘Cold Night’ slows proceedings down with a ballad-of-sorts for the romantics who like to kick back and tap their feet. Even new sounds for the band are prominent, like ‘Forgive And Forget’, a stripped down melody with experimental drums and echoed “Woah”s, which hits the spot and fits in perfectly as a comedown from the faster tracks.
It seems like You Me At Six have been in our magazines and on our TV channels forever, yet these boys are still in their mid 20s, having achieved so much success at an early age. ‘Too Young To Feel This Old’ is perhaps a fitting opening to ‘Cavalier Youth’ and a warning that this is just the start of their plans. This isn’t the best pop-punk album the band have released and it’s certainly not the best rock album. This is arena style music for a band with arena sized expectations and this is the best album they could have released to take them to where they want to be.
Written by Michael Heath