You Me At Six

Take Off Your Colours

Written by: TL on 11/11/2008 01:20:40

You may have heard about You Me At Six and the slight commotion they've stirred up in the British scene with their debut "Take Off Your Colours", without having listened to their music. If that's the case, then you may very well also be well on your way towards giving it a wide berth, simply for the poppunk scene the band is associated with, trying to save yourself from yet another load of mediocre disappointment spawned from it. I am here to rescue you from that mistake though, because trust me, from the sea of failed poppunk acts, You Me At Six stick out like a skyscraper.

How they do it though, is something I've been contemplating while "Take Off Your Colours" have repeatedly haunted my rotation for the past weeks (currently spinning for the fourth time today), and what I've come to identify as the first and foremost reason is simply that the band does not come on too strong. For the first four tracks, the band deliver some good songs, without blowing their load and without falling upon tired genre clichés like synths or other elements stolen directly from mainstream pop, instead paying loyal homage to classic acts like early New Found Glory or Fall Out Boy. As "Call It A Comeback" perfectly portrays, they sound like the singers of Cartel and The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus singing harmonies atop guitarwork by Fastlane, and that description alone should already be enough to get you interested.

However, the full promise of these first four joyous songs isn't really delivered till "Save It For The Bedroom" hits you and officially starts the brit-pop-punk party. This song is the first place the band clearly showcase the formula they're going to successfully build upon for the remainder of the cd. By simply leaving their very best lines out of the choruses (that are still catchy on their own), and saving them for refrains placed at the end of the songs, they've ensured that their songs all seem to grow into natural climaxes that end the songs on their strongest notes and serve as a perfect base for singalongs. Simple but infinitely effective. Lead singer Josh Franceschi further strengthens the impression, by starting most songs sounding slightly insecure and then allowing for more and more attitude and passion to slip into his voice as each song progresses. Coupled with the sentimental lyrics, you'll easily be excused for feeling that, this is just so you X years ago, when you were in high school and hung up about that girl and just wanted to say this and that, and effectively, a band that's new as fresh snow sounds nostalgic as NFG's "Nothing Gold Can Stay" or TBS's "Tell All Your Friend". Just listen to "You've Made Your Bed (So Sleep In It)" and you'll know what I mean. Then consider how easily that song is overshadowed by the awesome crescendo in the following "If You Run".

At track 9, the four previous songs have all been awesome, and "Tigers And Sharks" isn't letting up. The increasingly angry chorus and the melodic guitar lines hint at what the passionate "How does it feel!? How does it feel! To you?" cries solidify: Man, this sounds like Oasis when they were good. The subtle "Always Attract" offers some of the most catchy and bittersweet lyrics I can remember, and should make even the hardest of rockers go "awwhh" in unison with their girlfriends, and the palm-muted strings/violin based build-up is a tear-jerker on par with "Don't Wanna Miss A Thing", where Josh again reminds me of a certain Mr. Gallagher. By track 13, "The Rumour" closes the album in a manner mirroring the progression in songs I spoke of earlier, standing as the hard-rocking and grand statement of identity that the band has grown into since the cautious opening tracks. You Me At Six seem like they've changed into a whole other band over the course of the record, and the album feels longer and more impressive for it.

To run things down, even if you don't buy half my hype, this is still 13 tracks of poppunk that's well above par, at least 8 of which are simply brilliant and instantly memorable. It's everything British media hyped up Kids In Glass Houses to be and more, and it's easily the best damn poppunk album since The Wonder Years' "Get Stoked On It!". If the band can keep things up like this, they have a great career in the making.


Download: Save It For The Bedroom, If You Run, You've Made Your Bed
For The Fans Of: Cartel, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Amber Pacific

Release Date 06.10.2008
Slam Dunk Records

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