ARTIST: YOU ME AT SIX

TITLE: VI

LABEL: UNDERDOG RECORDS

RATING: 7 /10 

WORDS: ADAM HOPKIN

With a new album and a huge run of dates to celebrate 10 years since the release of their incredible debut effort “Take off your colours”, it’s never been a better time to be a You Me At Six fan. Even after a decade it’s hard not to draw comparisons to such a career defining album. But whether you wanted a return to their pop-punk roots or more of their catchier crowd pleasers, what you get with ‘VI’ is You Me At Six at their best.

You Me At Six has always been a band to embrace the forward-thinking nature of enhancing their sound with each release. ‘Sinners Never Sleep’ took the band into a sonically darker realm and the following two albums ‘Cavalier Youth’ and ‘Night People’ have certainly had a more mainstream appeal. In the run up to the highly anticipated release, frontman Josh Franceschi commented: “You have to make music for yourself”. Dispelling any fears of doubt surrounding the ‘VI’‘s success he continues, “. None of us are going into this with any fear, because we’ve made something we can stand behind.”

This clear ambition for You Me At Six comes after a period of disassociation with the band’s direction. Recently Franceschi explained, “we felt like we’d lost our way a little bit on the last record, and therefore it made is so hungry.” Admitting he almost fell out of love with the music industry Josh says, “I felt like we were, and had been losing our identity.”

“whether you wanted a return to their pop-punk roots or more of their catchier crowd pleasers, what you get with ‘VI’ is You Me At Six at their best.”

With a new state of mind and a rekindled passion for the industry, the guys also sought to distance themselves from their last release during the recording process. They admit that time in the studio during ‘Night People’ felt like a nine to five process, but with ‘VI’ they wanted to escape the predictability and mundane of everyday life, recording the entire album in two scheduled outings

Their new found appetite is clear right off the bat. Album opener ‘Fast Forward’ signals the bands return to form with thrilling guitars and an epic chorus that effortlessly showcases Franceschis vocal talents. The pacing of the track builds apprehension for a huge finish, giving it a true anthemic feel.

The band’s massive development as artists has never been so apparent than across tracks ‘Straight To My Head’ and its successor ‘Back Again’. The bass grooves and laid back guitars show that although the lads may have found their footing in a heavier niche, they can still pull off a more easy listening, radio-friendly vibe.

By far the most instrumentally dynamic and outgoing track across the new release, ‘IOU’ feels like an exploration into the sonically unknown from the moment the shallow baseline and distant percussion are pierced by the song’s main riff. The track boasts an in your face funk and attitude that the band carry flawlessly, with a chorus brimming with a rock n roll swagger that’s sorely missed across the indie friendly first half of ‘VI’.

“At its very heart, You Me At Six’s latest release ‘VI’ is like the greatest hits album they never released. “

The suspenseful pacing of “predictable” brings to mind the days of “Sinners never sleep”. Distorted bass and fuzzy instrumentals muddy the water, with Francaschi’s roar of “you’re so predictable” creating almost sinister overtones.

At its very heart, You Me At Six’s latest release ‘VI’ is like the greatest hits album they never released. Long-time fans will love the nostalgic look over the shoulder and grungy underbelly of ‘Fast forward’, ‘IOU’ and ‘Predictable’ whereas the immaculate lyricism and brighter tones of ‘Straight To My Head’, ‘Pray For Me’ and ‘3AM’ show just how diverse these guys really are.

It has more polish, more clarity than their previous releases, but Josh and the lads are still dropping hooky anthems anyone can rock out to. Yeah, you might miss your voice breaking with every chant of “save it for the bedroom”, but whilst these latest tracks sound more mature don’t be fooled into thinking they can’t carry the same momentum.

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