sun 16/12/2018

CD: You Me At Six - VI | reviews, news & interviews

CD: You Me At Six - VI

CD: You Me At Six - VI

Well-established rockers are new to our dubious reviewer but he's impressed

Numeral not doodlebug

I come to this band from the perspective of one who’s only seen the words "YOU ME AT SIX" on endless T-shirts passing in the street. I’m no connoisseur, then. From the cultural detritus that’s wended my way during their 10-year career, they just seemed a band who had no “thing”, no breakout song, no look, no cultural space or loudly impressed belief. Just five normal-looking guys who tour a lot, hard-working meat’n’potatoes rockers (who’d bridle at that cliché). As their sixth album hits my ears, though, I can see why those T-shirts sell.

My ignorance is relatively inexcusable, given that You Me At Six have had a series of best-selling Top 5 albums. Originally from Weybridge in leafy Surrey, they’re now in the same league as flashier US rockers such as Fall Out Boy and Thirty Seconds To Mars. Their sixth album states their case from the off, bursting in on a “Smells Like Teen Spirit” one-two drum punch before the appropriately roaring “Fast Forward”, catchy and compelling, albeit with grunge edge somewhat smoothed away.

VI’s flaw – if it is one – is the pop ease of its sound. For instance, “3.00 AM” just grooves along predictably, making all the right fist-pump chords yet not hitting home. Too smooth. But let’s not focus there. This is an album worth celebrating for its best moments. Singer Josh Franceschi’s voice is likeable, avoiding annoying contemporary vocal tics, and You Me At Six are clearly adept at nailing down tight stadium rock songs, notably the urgent lover’s plea “Straight to My Head” and loud-quiet-loud shouty one, “Predictable”.

Even better, variety stops things palling, with a funky side showing itself. The disco-flavoured chart-pop of “Back Again” is yukky, but "Danger" is OK and then there's “I O U”, which is outstanding. "I O U" has a great bass line and jacked, sensual dancefloor aspect, an understanding that heft does not necessarily have to come from amplification and sonic density, something many rockers fail to gauge. It could give old INXS pub-funk classics such as “Need You Tonight” a run for their money. Yes, You Me At Six have enough going on. Next time I see them on a festival programme, I shall follow the stream of T-shirts in their direction.

Below: Listen to the inarguably funk-rockin' "I O U" by You Me At Six
 
Even better, variety stops things palling with a funky side showing itself

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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