Thrash Hits

October 6th, 2008

Album: You Me At Six – Take Off Your Colours

You Me At Six Josh Francheschi Thrash Hits yma6 youmeatsix

You Me At Six
Take Off Your Colours
Slam Dunk Records
06 October 2008

by Mischa Pearlman

Weybridge quintet You Me At Six (or, depending how MySpace you’re feeling, youmeatsix) are most definitely a product of their times.

When emo has become the new chav, and when today’s undemanding pop audiences eschew any depth or feeling in the music they listen to for a self-indulgent fetishism of laboured hairstyles and bands as banal and limpid as Bryan Adams’ recent back catalogue, You Me At Six are the perfect poster boys for their so-called scene.

On its own, as bubblegum pop music, Take Off Your Colours is a debut album full of anodyne, insipid songs and anaemic sentiment that is barely tolerable except for the fact that at least they play their own instruments and write their own songs.

you me at six take off your colours youmeatsix yma6 ym@6 thrash hits album artwork

That is, perhaps, until you hear token ballad ‘Always Attract’, a bland, dirgey acoustic number that utilises almost every known cliché in its lyrics. “If it hurts this much,” sings Josh Franceschi, “then it must be love / It’s a lottery / I can’t wait to draw your name.” If you didn’t already know that the band are in their teens, such dreadful high-school missives couldn’t fail to tell you.

What’s worse, though, is that they purport to make music that actually means something, and that’s what makes this album so insidious. It’s not just throwaway pop that has ideas way above its station – it’s evolved (or rather, mutated) from a style of music that, originally, was made purely as a means of cathartic expression.

Say what you like about The Get Up Kids, Saves The Day, The Promise Ring or any of those second wave of late nineties ‘emo’ bands (and let’s leave the definition and history of ‘emo’ for another day, please), they at least made music that was real, that you could believe in.

Watch the video to ‘Jealous Minds Think Alike’ by You Me At Six

Even Taking Back Sunday, though they have their critics, wrote intelligent and articulate heartfelt songs. At its worst, being ‘emo’ was about having bad hair and bad skin and not having a date to the high school prom, but the songs still came first.

Now, ‘emo’ has been inverted to mean the exact opposite, all (hair)style over substance. Hell, bassist Matt Barnes already has his own clothing label – a firm reassertion that this band are little more than the embodiment of the culture of commercialisation. Blame Panic(!) At The Disco if you want, but at least their debut album had some good songs. This does not.

But let’s focus on the music awhile, lest this is accused of being an anti-emo rant rather than an album review – though if you’re following these words even remotely you should realise this isn’t a general attack, it’s a very specific invective.

There are thirteen songs, including the aforementioned ballad, all fused together by tetchy guitar lines and Franceschi’s nasal Americanised vocals. He’s from Dorset. People in Dorset don’t sound American. If you belong to a genre that, rightly or wrongly, is known for its open-hearted confessionalism, surely you should at least be true to your origins to maintain that all important emotional integrity. Or maybe that’s just me…

Watch You Me At Six talk about their debut album

The tunes themselves closely follow the bog-standard, slightly angular, poppy, boppy late ’00s ‘emo’ sound template as close as they can. There’s no feeling in the vocals, no passion in the music, nothing to make any of these songs stand out whatsoever.

‘Save It For The Bedroom’ is an adrenalin-charged but emotionless blackhole, while ‘You’ve Made Your Bed (So Sleep In It)’ is a slowed down, self-aware, self-referential ode to an ex-girlfriend that almost has a decent lyrical turn (“You’ve made your bed so sleep with him”).

If this album had highlights, it would probably be them. To run through the rest of the songs is, frankly, depressing. There are better things to do and much better music to listen to. Suffice to say that this album is a low point in the long saga of what ‘emo’ is or isn’t.

By rights, You Me At Six shouldn’t mean anything to anybody and these songs should be dismissed for what they really are – a series of badly phrased platitudes set to irritating tunes. Unfortunately, people will buy it and believe in it and think it speaks to them. And that’s even more depressing than the quality of the songs themselves.

1/6

You Me At Six – Take Off Your Colours tracklisting
Jealous Minds Think Alike
Behind Blue Eyes
Call That A Comeback
Jealous Minds Think Alike
Save It For The Bedroom
Take Off Your Colours
You’ve Made Your Bed (So Sleep In It)
If You Run
Tigers And Sharks
If I Were In Your Shoes
Always Attract
Nasty Habits
Rumour

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