Having dealt with the demons that almost broke up the band during the production of their last record, ‘Sinner’s Never Sleep’, You Me at Six has released ‘Cavalier Youth’, putting any last doubts about their ability to work together to bed. In fact, the band has never written music more in-sync than what they produced for their newest work.
It’s safe to say that this album is by no means anything new or unexpected from the band, rather it’s a different example of the same sound You Me at Six has always created. We still get the catchy pop songs and the ol’ head-banger here and there, but none of the tracks really jump out at you, although they should considering it is the bands 4th studio album to date. Some may say “don’t fix it if it ain’t broke”, and to those people I’d say “screw that”.
To say there is nothing new on the record is unfair. There are certainly aspects of the songs that are different from previous works, such as a new recording style for lead vocalist Josh Franceschi (which makes his voice stronger than ever), and a much cleaner sound to the guitar riffs (something which would often overpower earlier tracks). But despite these small improvements, the albums doesn’t set the band up for a new chapter. We don’t know how much the band has grown since their issues in 2011, as not one song seems to mention it. I could be wrong about that, but half of the words Franceschi says took at least 3 listens to decipher (curse his weird British accent).
There are some stand out tracks, like the album opener ‘Too Young to Feel This Old’, which is as clean and crisp as the band has ever sounded, and ‘Fresh Start Fever’, which has a classic riff-driven You Me at Six ‘angry-track’ feel. However, despite a strong start, the band can’t sustain their best, and the tracks become hit-and-miss, something all too prevalent in You Me at Six’s discography. ‘Hope for the Best’ is boring and predictable, and ‘Be Who You Are’ is way too short. I was expecting another ‘Always Attract’ or ‘Fireworks’, but then it suddenly fades out and you’re left with nothing but disappointment.
I’ve made the album sound a lot worse than it is, so hopefully when you listen to it you’re pleasantly surprised. When I pressed play on the album for the first time I just wanted 12 consistent, powerful, and catchy You Me at Six tracks, something which none of their albums have yet achieved, this album included.
Still, though it has its flaws, ‘Cavalier Youth’ is another enjoyable album to add to my car CD collection, and I’m sure you’ll see me driving by singing “we’re not young anymore, what are you so scared of?” to everyone with their car windows open, regardless of whether they want to hear me or not.