Artist: You Me At Six
Album: Cavalier Youth
Tracks: 12 (+1 Bonus Track and +2 Videos)
Release Date: 27th January 2014
Label: BMG Rights Management
Since the release of You Me At Six’s last album Sinners Never Sleep in the October of 2011 there has been considerable buzz concerning where the band would go next and how, if possible they could become any bigger. Just two years and a handful of months later, the band have released their 4th offering; Cavalier Youth.
On the second of September, the band premiered their first single from the album; Lived a Lie. It was the only single released on the album, however, songs such as Fresh Start Fever and Hope For the Best were available to hear on the internet through a “leaked” source. Lived a Lie promised exciting things for the band’s new album, indicating musical a style similar to songs from the 2010 album Hold Me Down. When the song hits the chorus, the sound fills out with a wall of sound, showing a more mature style and knowledge of production as well as spreading their sound. Lived a Lie goes on to feature a chain-gang like band shout section for the bridge, with Josh and the crew crying out “We are believers”.
This positive vibe continues for the next few songs, Fresh Start Fever holds a lot of the aggression left-over from Sinners Never Sleep but there is a calmer edge to it with the pop hook-lines which is familiar enough to be You Me At Six, but yet verges on being too similar.
If nothing else can be said for the album, it definitely showcases some of the ways that the band has changed over the past few years, growing further and further away from Take Off Your Colours in 2008.
However, that’s where most of the positives end. Don’t mistake my meaning, Cavalier Youth is a good album, but it would be better if it was the band’s debut album, or even a sophomore album, but as a 4th album from an experienced and well-renown band, I can’t help but feeling there is little diversity within the album itself.
Undoubtedly there are differences between every single album that You Me At Six have released but with their previous albums, you could pick any two songs at random and they would not sound alike, but with Cavalier Youth there is very little differing one song from another. To put it frankly, it’s a regression into a pop-centric groove with safe sounding music and nothing stands out as new or exciting, and when Josh is offering lyrics such as “I’m in a different district, hunger games” in the song Win Some, Lose Some, I feel somewhat at a loss as to what has happened.
The band chose to add some bonus material for those (Myself included) that simply must always get the deluxe editions of everything. A song by the name of Champagne Wishes is the album’s only deluxe edition track, and sadly/fortunately is Cavalier Youth’s saving grace. The song is energetic and portrays the sort of quality you would expect from the band; catchy vocal hooks, break-downs blurring the lines between metal and rock and lyrics charged with angst and disillusionment. A natural progression for the Surrey boys. Unfortunately this additional track is one of my top three recommendations from the album along with Fresh Start Fever and Hope for the Best. This is a worrying thought, especially when you consider all the fans that may not have bought the deluxe edition.
An interesting point on Cavalier Youth’s creation is the apparent lack of guest features. Sinners Never Sleep had Winston McCall from Parkway Drive and Oli Sykes from Bring Me The Horizon, Hold Me Down had Sean Smith from The Blackout and Aled Phillips from Kids in Glass Houses, Take Off Your Colours had Elissa Franceschi but Cavalier Youth has… No one?
Guest appearances are something which is almost synonymous with You Me At Six and some degree of the excitement resides in the wonder of who they have managed to get to play with this time. It’s not an issue which many would deem as significant, but it’s one of those small touches that make all the difference.
All things aside I’m not turned off the completely. It is a good album, it’s just not what I was hoping for from a band of this caliber and I fear that new listeners would be easily bored away. Still, I shall be going out to see them on tour and I thoroughly recommend that you do so too, although if you feel the same about this album as I, perhaps you won’t be able to sing along so well to the new tracks.
For those of you die-hard fans; I recommend: Wild Ones, Fresh Start Fever, and Champagne Wishes.
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