BRINGING SIXY BACK
YOU ME AT SIX dust themselves off and get their mojo back on return-to-form sixth album
Even by name, You Me At Six’s sixth record marks itself with significance for the
Weybridge quintet. But no-one, not even the band, could have predicted just how important making it would prove.
Under different circumstances, they could have remained in cruise control, as they rolled thoughtlessly and freely into a self-congratulatory record that simply threw another log on an already nicely-burning fire. However, following the Number One success of 2014’s Cavalier Youth, last year’s Night People proved divisive among their fans and ultimately failed to elevate them in status as they had hoped. The album was an unexpected pothole in their otherwise smooth road. As a result, VI sees the band fighting to retake the wheel, with their own label, new management, and a fresh sense of freedom.
In another notable twist of fate, 2018 marks a decade since the band’s first record, Take Off Your Colours – an occasion that will be marked by touring the album in full later this year. Bizarrely, their sixth album is a spiritual counterpart to that debut, not through forced nostalgia or throwbacks, but through the creative liberty allowed to them and the fearlessness required to find their feet, again.
But where’s left to go? Forward. Boldly. And the result is a compelling album that experiments with the YMAS sound more than ever before. Opener Fast Forward comes tooled up with huge drums, growling bass and a distinctly Royal Blood feeling to it. Yet somehow, just two tracks later, Back Again is throwing out light-hearted, dancey riffs that are about as shiny and towering as the band have ever produced. It’s this ability to shape-shift that keeps the record interesting as it navigates from sound to sound. It sees each member’s creative input and influence brought to the table and, at times, the diversity is so great that the only real continuity is the clout of frontman Josh Franceschi’s vocals and the band’s ability to write a chorus. And therein lies the album’s greatest strength, as VI serves up a tasting menu of what the future of the band holds, not bound by a single sound but by a revived spirit.
There are darker, rockier sounds such as Predictable’s creeping, Muse-like riffs. There are silkysmooth, radio-friendly jams like 3AM and I O U. There are feverish, highenergy numbers such as Straight To My Head and Danger. Even if it is as a result of past mistakes, it’s great to see a band six records into their career bringing renewed energy, creativity and fresh flavours to the table.
In the decade since You Me At Six released their debut, they have been in a constant state of evolution, and in that sense, too, VI feels like the perfect milestone as they re-roll the dice throughout the album. With heartbeat-like drums, flourishes of synth and use of vocoder vocals, closing track Losing You cements itself as the most out-there song on the record, and provides a fittingly unusual ending to an album that celebrates You Me At Six as a living, breathing, multifaceted group.
Sometimes in life you need a wake-up call and – whether the members of You Me At Six liked it or not – Night People proved to be a bucket of cold water. VI, however, is the sound of a band who are wide awake once again, not just finding their feet, but coming out confidently swinging.