You Me At Six
27 January 2014
by Tomas Doyle
God bless those cheeky scamps in You Me At Six. Growing up in the public glare ain’t easy, especially when your Myspace account acquires you the sort of fame at 15 that plenty of old pub rockers are still craving long into their 30s. But in the hermetically-sealed dome of next generation e-fame, every move is scrutinised, and every misstep recorded. Quite literally everyone can hear you scream. Or not of course, because the quintet from Weybridge have always been the poppiest of pop punk acts. Not quite Mcfly, but for a long while not too far short.
Anyway, they’ve been trying to strap on their big boy pants for a while now and make the most of the fact that not only are they already filling arenas, they have – more by luck that judgement – found themselves at the front of the pack of a new wave of UK rawk bands. You know the ones, cool enough to have their own clothing line but not cool enough to premiere a record on Pitchfork. Sixth form common room stereo fodder. Despite it’s tirle, Cavalier Youth is the most blatant attempt yet from the band to grow up. The vibe is mellow and natural and the residual sugar of the choruses has been, for the most part, siphoned away. Oh, and it’s a bit boring.
For all You Me At Six’s faults on previous albums – the teenage posturing and histrionic vocals – at least there were some bona fide jams on show. ‘Save It For The Bedroom’ isn’t going to win an Ivor Novello, but at least it is eminently hummable and almost beautiful in its simplicity. What’s on offer here is a collection of songs that have had their edges sanded down to an indie template, presumably with an eye on the T4 and Topshop crowds, but which are critically lacking in personality. Tunes like ‘Cold Night’ and ‘Wild Ones’ are terminally flaccid, ambling from melody to melody with a listless lack of intent. Admittedly there are some sparks of glee: the sassy, sensual ‘Fresh Start Fever’ has all the understated aggression and string embellishments of ‘Thnks Fr Th Mmrs’-era Fall Out Boy but it feels like an island of quality in a sea of averageness.
The feverish loyalty the band have inspired in a career which already stretches back a long way will carry them through, but at some point they are going to have to release a genuinely great album to justify their position and frankly, Cavalier Yoth isn’t it. If You Me At Six want to be seen as a critical rather than just a commercial success, then they need to do more than pay lip service to the idea of maturity; they need to knuckle down and deliver. Cavalier youths playing at being men aren’t cutting it any more.
Sounds Like: Young Guns, Deaf Havana, Blitz Kids
Standout Track: Fresh Start Fever