When a band conquer the charts in the way that You Me At Six did with their fourth album ‘Cavalier Youth’ (their first UK#1) they are faced with two options. They can either take a formulaic “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach to crafting an album or they can take a risk and attempt to further evolve. On new album ‘Night People’ You Me At Six have chosen the latter and the result is their finest work to date.
Opening with the bluesy rock ‘n’ roll of lead single and title track ‘Night People’ it becomes blatant that the band aren’t here to showcase a bunch of old and tired tricks. Speaking to Rocksound, frontman Josh Franceschi said that the band had “rolled the dice” on this new LP and the gamble seems to have paid off. ‘Night People’ sees the band, completed by guitarists Max Helyer and Chris Miller along with drummer Dan Flint and bassist Matt Barnes, firing on all cylinders throughout the vast majority of the album.
On occasion remnants of their older sound creep their way into songs such as ‘Swear’ and ‘Plus One’. Both are adrenaline fuelled sing alongs but still fit comfortably in with the more experimental cuts on this album.
The band haven’t been shy about stating that their latest release was made with stadiums and headline festival slots in mind. This fact becomes evident as the album plays out with songs like the dark and powerful ‘Spell It Out’ (“No one here is bulletproof”) and the emotional ‘Heavy Soul’ (“I’ll think of you/ maybe in another life”) that seem tailor made for larger venues. In addition to this, the album was produced by none other than Jacquire King, known for his works with the likes of Kings of Leon.
‘Make Your Move’ is a bouncy number that subtly recalls some of Michael Jackson’s more guitar driven tunes. Whether a conscious choice or not, emulating the late King of Pop is a nice way of trying to catapult themselves to the heights the band have so unabashedly spoke of in recent interviews.
For anyone that has tracked their progression since debut album ‘Take Off Your Colours’ it is obvious that this band have matured. Maturity can often be associated with being somewhat boring but the boys in You Me At Six have managed to compile some of their most exciting songs up to this point for this record.
You Me At Six should be given praise for daring to abandon their pop-rock/pop-punk sound of years gone by and also for not attempting to create a clone of their most successful album (itself a departure from their earliest works) when beginning to write ‘Night People’. The change in direction might leave some fans desperate for the old days but it hardly matters. There are people who have yearned for the band to make music that harkens back to their Warped Tour days since the release of third album ‘Sinners Never Sleep’ and that record took them to Wembley Arena as headliners.
This is a band that have claimed that they want to be considered important to British rock music and win Grammys. It may not be what listeners would expect from the boys that brought us fan favourites such as ‘Underdog’ and ‘Stay With Me’ but it is the album that the men who brought us ‘Night People’ needed to make.