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Album review: “VI” by You Me At Six

Image: You Me At Six, via YouTube
Image: You Me At Six, via YouTube
Image: You Me At Six, via YouTube

An ode to youth, spontaneity and recklessness, the latest You Me At Six album, VI is a capsule of nostalgia resurfacing lost feelings tainted by adulthood. Upon listening, teenage feelings of angst and ferocity will be revisited in a refreshingly upbeat combination of classic pop and pop-punk. A must listen for old and new fans.

You Me at Six were a classic ‘edgy’ band during teenage years. They were pop enough to be catchy, but rock enough to be considered cool. Formed in 2004, they achieved initial fame with the release of debut album Take Off Your Colours and witnessed even more success with the release of Sinners Never Sleep in 2011. Nowadays, they are seemingly low key, but this does not discredit the appeal of their latest album, which is them returning to the music scene with revived spirit.

VI is the sixth studio album released by You Me At Six with the accreditation by lead singer, Josh Franceschi, of new tones of hip hop and R&B elements. Personally, listeners will find it hard to find evidence of this within the album, as it sounds remarkably like their original sound back in the day. This album has been officially classified as a mix of pop and rock, containing electronic influences. On the whole, it has been received well in the realm of music critics. Each song has a different feel and contains characteristics of a variety of musical genres – a sense of range not attempted by them before.

Songs follow traditional themes of love, break ups and life in the early hours. “3am” and “Straight to My Head” appear to be the melody for a sought after, intense romance. The ferocity of love in youth is emphasized with upbeat, classic pop-punk synthesis. It is hard not to quicken your stride when listening whilst walking. This album would feature well on a gym playlist! Since re-discovering them, You Me At Six have definitely been up there on my “recently listened” to, and for good reason. This album is a slice of nice, a return to their original catchy tones with some hints of maturity simmering on the surface. It is easy listening at its finest, with some added emotional depth and youthful nostalgia.

Despite being overwhelmingly upbeat and chirpy for the most part, towards the end of the album the themes appear to get more nostalgic and sad. An ode to lost youth possibly, or signifying the end of a drawn out relationship. Either way, the album certainly tells a story and one of the intensity of youth that would resonate with most. “Losing You” the final track of the album is noticeably duller in tones and rhythm compared to counterparts such as “Straight to My Head” it feels an apt sound to close on an album so evocative of a relationship journey, portrayed through sound and feeling.

Ten years ago – when You Me At Six were just really starting out, this kind of sound would have been questionable. However, after growing older and somewhat wiser, they have straightened out of their ’emo’ punk-pop phase, in demonstrating a certain extent of distance from their youth, but looking back on it with a mellow, pop inspired sound. An ode to youth is one exploratory avenue in which this album could travel down. But compared with previous, fast paced and intense sounds reflecting teenage emotions, this album is definitely a nostalgic journey. One which is looking at the past with a deep heart.

Despite being a teenage pop-punk band reminiscent of my adolescence, You Me At Six have managed to produce an equally appealing combination of the old and new with chirpy and meaningful songs. With a combination of the old and new, they still manage to maintain their original loud and roaring sound. A well-rounded album which is well worth a listen.