You Me at Six kick of 2014 with their fourth full-length album ‘Cavalier Youth’, highly anticipated following the release of lead single ‘Lived a Lie’ and ‘Fresh Start Fever’. Well, now it’s out and I get the feeling I do every time I hear that You Me at Six are releasing another album, and this sentiment is best expressed by the band themselves on this album: ‘I hope for the best, I prepare for the worst’.
I’ve always had a soft side for You Me at Six. I loved their debut release ‘Take Off Your Colours’, which established them as the British reinvention of pop-punk and promised a raw and discernibly energetic sound that American pop-punk often lacks, but You Me at Six – like all great bands – have changed with the times. ‘Hold Me Down’ saw them solidify their status as a pop-punk poster-boys, while ‘Sinners Never Sleep’ stripped down all the bells and whistles and aimed to push them towards the more contemporary rock market.
‘Cavalier Youth’ is somewhere in between their previous two efforts. It carries over the rock-inspired sound of ‘Sinners Never Sleep and combines it with the catchy, sing-along lyrical sensibilities of ‘Hold Me Down’. The result is an album that, while it may stick in your head for hours after listening, never really seems to build up a full-head of steam and unleash. ‘Fresh Start Fever’ lets the rock out with a punchy, emphatic chorus and chugging guitars that beg you to pump your fists rhythmically, but nothing else on the record really has the same impact, the closest being ‘Love Me Like You Used To’ which flirts with a heavier sound but doesn’t quite seal the deal..
That’s not to say that it’s not a good album. With each album, as any good act should, the songwriting has improved dramatically, and ‘Cavalier Youth’ is no different. It displays a brilliantly balanced sound that will please die-hard fans without alienating any newcomers who may hear them on Radio 1 and want to look them up later on. ‘Hope for the Best’ shows that a song can be simple and still be a great listen, and as the chorus washes over you like a cool breeze you’ll be content just to sit back and breathe it in, and it stands as one of the more prominent songs on the album. Meanwhile, opener ‘Too Young to Feel This Old’ and closing track ‘Wild Ones’ both channel a measured, Killers-esque energy that eases you in and fades you out gently (respectfully).
‘Cavlier Youth’ is a solid entry in to the You Me at Six canon, and is sure to be a crowd-pleaser come touring season. It’s a measured, accessible album that’s radio-ready and very easy on the ears, and while it may call a ‘risky’ album, as some (myself included) thought of its edgier, heavier predecessor and, that’s understandable. You Me at Six are no longer a band who need to be taking risks and going in wild directions to get to the top. They’re already there, and ‘Cavalier Youth’ is a record that should see them stay there.