It was a while ago I first came across You Me At Six. Disappointed with Funeral For A Friendâ€™s Tales Donâ€™t Tell Themselves, I went searching for some good old British emo-pop-rock. â€˜Save It For The Bedroomâ€™ is what I uncovered â€“ played heavily until I got the next new “toy”.
Forward to today and I am sat here with Take Off Your Colours, You Me At Sixâ€™s debut. I will be honest, I had lost them from my radar after my initial fling with the Surrey based quintets musings on love and life and my interest was piqued again when I saw in my local music superstore that their album was due for release.
The fact that it was listed on the wall behind the till in said type of shop (normally reserved to tell the unfulfilled when the next manufactured chart superstar releases their labels new cash cow) was enough to make me take a second look.
Released on Slam Dunk Records (my previous knowledge of Slam Dunk was as a club night at The Cockpit in Leedsâ€¦ah, memoriesâ€¦!), You Me At Six have obviously built up a reputation and a dedicated following to get such advertisements.
As I listen to the CD for the first time (on my way to work â€“ Iâ€™m a busy man!) I find my mind wandering. Itâ€™s pleasant enough, but sounds kind like it could have been done by any number of similar bands, both British and American â€“ all chugging guitars, big breakdowns and genre-specific vocal stylings.
Thenâ€¦Harkâ€¦What is that? The alarm call guitar that is the introduction to â€˜Save It For The Bedroomâ€™, thatâ€™s what it is. Now it may be familiarity that reeled me in, but, hell, it got my attention drew me inside for a further listen.
Next up is the albums title track. Slamming straight in with the line “Those eyes you bought have gone to my head / But they wont take you to my bed” adds to the building sense of sex and short-lived relationships.
This theme is kept up over the next couple of tracks, including â€˜If You Runâ€™, which features this rather damning assessment of a former acquaintance: “Run around, just running your mouth / You’re by the hotel / Who’s doing you now? / And you’re so cold, so cold”
Things get a bit heavier on â€˜Tigers And Sharksâ€™, conjuring a sense of pain and betrayal to go with the cutting put-downs, vocalist Josh Franceschi demanding to know why everyone he knows was faking it from the word go.
The albumâ€™s unrelenting pace slows up for the obligatory acoustic number, â€˜Always Attractâ€™. Guitarist, one of Max Heyler or Chris Miller, or perhaps both (no liner notes, no concrete info), do a good job providing an understated melody allowing Franceschi to emote â€“ this time longing for his loved one to return, enlisting the help of an unknown female (see previous comment regarding liner notes) to add backing vocals. The guitarists get to revert to their electrics for the ending, as the rest of the band join in for the crescendo of a finale. As I said, â€˜Always Attractâ€™ breaks up the generally fast paced album â€“ but not for long.
Reverting to type for the final two tracks, â€˜Nasty Habitsâ€™ bemoans another girl who, while not wanting to be “bad news”, seems to be just that.
Live favourite and traditional set closer â€˜The Rumourâ€™ ends the album in anthemic style, inviting the listener to “Hold your hands in, into the air / Hold your hands up as if you care”, but not before admitting that “We try to show some love and / Itâ€™s a skill that we lack”.
You Me At Six are writing good pop-infused rock music, the press release likening them to Fall Out Boy and Paramore. If thatâ€™s what the band are aspiring to (certainly no bad thingâ€¦and, oh, havenâ€™t You Me At Six just been added to Fall Out Boyâ€™s UK tourâ€¦?) they are certainly going the right way about it.
The tales of girls and boys and love and hate that make up Take Off Your Colours are distinctly teenage in content. But they are full of energy, enthusiasm and, most importantly, tunes. Good tunes make a damn good listen. Letâ€™s just hope they stay as unlucky with the ladiesâ€¦