You Me At Six

Hold Me Down

Written by: TL on 02/02/2010 17:36:21

While outside of Britain it may only be scenesters and music nerds who know of You Me At Six, the story of their rise to fame within the borders of their own country, borders on descriptions like "comet-like". Stepping away from the anonymity of the underground emo-rock scene with 2008's excellent "Take Off Your Colours", they rose from support band to headliner in no time, and the hype they generated with their give-it-all performances even earned them a slot as main support for Paramore and got them signed to Epitaph. Does that sound like the beginning of a classic "band-that-gets-too-big-too-fast" story to you? I can't help but think the thought, so when YMAS released their sophomore "Hold Me Down" a few weeks ago, it did indeed have some preconceptions to defeat.

However, from start to finish, this new record mirrors the increased magnitude of YMAS' format. Whether it has come from learning from Paramore or from having an effective producer at hand, "Hold Me Down" sounds like a record that has been carefully trimmed and tuned to deliver hit upon hit to radio listeners and myspace prowlers alike, and as a collection of such, it is indeed impressive. Of this, "Underdog" is the prime example, sporting a chorus that is simply irresistible and a break that's not too bad either, but "Playing The Blame Game" is also far from forgettable, sporting the catchy and cocky opening lines "You're not on my list of, things to do, 'cause I've already, done you", and in general the songs all offer lines in both verses and choruses that will demand singalongs after a very limited number of listens. Other highlights count the rockin' "Contagious Chemistry" and the subtle Cute Is What We Aim For-ish "Liquid Confidence", however, the very best things "Hold Me Down" has to give, are located in both of its ends.

You see firstly, "The Consequence" is simply the most successful refinement of what YMAS did well on "Take Off Your Colours". Threatening riff, attitude-filled verse lines, catchy chorus, and most importantly, a barn storming bridge, on which singer Josh Fran-canneverspellhisname and guest vocalist Sean Smith's (of The Blackout) delivery of the already classic refrain "I got real big plans and such bad thoughts" demand that you yell along, as they lift and then descend into a singalong/screamfest the like of which has not been heard since the end of Fall Out Boy's show-ending "Saturday". Similarly, the third to last track "There's No Such Thing As Accidental Infidelity" and the closing "Fireworks", both sport similarly anthemic endings, only in the somewhat more tender department.

And here my friends, is where "Hold Me Down" distances itself from "Take Off Your Colours". There are plenty of people who tried that first record and never understood what was so good about YMAS, because the five opening up-beat songs admittedly weren't as effective as they could've been. Those people will love "Hold Me Down", because that kind of songs is what has been strengthened here, and YMAS have become much easier to get into as a result of it. The cost however, is that the 'room' you have, where you can do what you like when you're doing your own thing, has been cut away somewhat, to fully harness the potential singles on here. This means less of those moments that truly made YMAS the sensation that they were on "Take Of Your Colours". There are simply much fewer moments like "I got one good reason, to keep you on your feet" ("If You Run"), "How does it feel? How does it feel, to you?" ("Tigers & Sharks") and "Hold your hands in, into the air! Hold your hands as! As if you care!" ("The Rumour"). Fans of the previous record should know exactly what I mean.

This doesn't mean however, that "Hold Me Down" is a bad record at all. As a matter of fact, it is jam-packed with songs that will have you singing along with ease, and it still manages to be like that, without polishing YMAS into sounding like All Time Low (did I mention that the bass on this record is perfectly audible and sounds delicious?). However, it is the kind of record where you will find a handful of songs that are your favourites, and tend to pick them out individually in the future, rather than one like "Take Off You Colours", which I think is more often put on in its entirety, as its fans casually hum along to the first five songs, before having their hearts swell more and more to the sound of the excellent eight that finish it. So yeah, great, solid, credible pop-rock for the big audiences, yet not packing quite the emotive impact as the prior record. Hmm, "Take This To Your Grave" and "From Under The Cork Tree" anyone?


Download: The Consequence, Underdog, There's No Such Thing As Accidental Infidelity, Fireworks
For The Fans Of: Paramore, Cartel, ("Louder Now"-era) Taking Back Sunday

Release Date 11.01.2010
Virgin / Epitaph

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