Album Review: You Me At Six – Cavalier Youth

Summer Lovin’

After the unequivocal success of You Me At Six’s previous album, ‘Sinners Never Sleep’, you can argue that expectations were high for the quintet’s fourth studio album.

Cavalier Youth’ proves to be one of those albums that suffers from Benjamin Button Syndrome. Sure, they’ve never sounded bigger or better than this. Every track is polished to perfection, notably Josh Franceschi’s vocals along with Max Helyer and Chris Miller’s duelling guitars.

However, I have to go back to ‘Sinners’, an album that was so full to the brim of raw, edgy anthems and poignant ballads. It gave YMAS a persona, an identity; something they’d not quite grasped on their debut ‘Take Off Your Colours’ and sophomore album ‘Hold Me Down’. Don’t get me wrong, those are both great pop-punk albums, but within that genre you have to keep moving, you have to keep evolving. Blink-182 did it several times, as did Green Day twice with ‘Dookie’ and ‘American Idiot’. Their close friends Paramore lost two seemingly integral members before the release of their self-titled album last year, but came back with a new sound; the trio found themselves musically and now they’re headlining this year’s Reading & Leeds Festivals. The results speak for themselves.

Album opener ‘Too Young To Feel This Old’ sets the tone of the record, YMAS arguably doing what they do best – telling stories about love and heartbreak, but it’s all too familiar, although sounds epic nonetheless. ‘Lived a Lie’, the first single, is an absolute gem, perfectly (albeit, briefly) mixing the tone of previous instalments with a polished gloss of maturity. This is what we should’ve come to expect throughout, but it’s all too few and far between.

When the band do turn on the swagger, it works beautifully. ‘Fresh Start Fever’ epitomises what the band are aiming for – “Welcome to the future, dream a little bigger”. These kind of songs on the album are meant for arenas, for stadiums, for that coveted headline slot at your favourite festival.

‘Room to Breathe’ is a brilliant nod to the Foo Fighters, heavy as hell with that brutal angst we saw in ‘Sinners’. Although, when YMAS return to their teenage years with ‘Love Me Like You Used To’, they hit the nail on the head. It proves to be a standout track full of that youthful exuberance we all knew and loved; this one deserves single status.

The main problem with ‘Cavalier Youth’, is that it’s ‘ballads’ pale in comparison to previous efforts such as ‘Crash’, ‘Little Bit Of Truth’ and ‘Fireworks’. What’s infuriating is that ‘Be Who You Are’ is cut short prematurely because it has the potential to be one of the most beautiful songs the band have ever produced, but instead the sun sets on it all too quickly. ‘Cold Night’ holds its own, but the likes of ‘Forgive and Forget’ and ‘Wild Ones’ are forgettable and underwhelming.

By no means is this a bad album, I don’t think YMAS have that in them, but ‘Cavalier Youth‘ suffers from a lack of evolution from ‘Sinners Never Sleep’. There is no ‘Bite My Tongue’ or ‘Little Death’ here, instead there are too many forgettable songs that lack that character and edge that benefitted the band endless amounts on what remains their pièce de résistance.

For the next You Me At Six record, I’ll hope for the best.

3 out of 5 Stars. 

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