Overall Score: 6/10 Memorable Songs: 7/10 Repeat Listen Value: 5/10 Consistency: 5/10 Pros: Fresh Start Fever | Two or three very good songs Cons: Inconsistent | Too much filler
You Me At Six up until this point are a band I’ve remained largely indifferent to; No issue with listening to them at all and pleasant enough, but their music has never grabbed me and made me want to listen to it with any regularity. Having secured the first rock album number one in the UK album charts accolade for 2014, it was time to see if their fourth album Cavalier Youth would alter the perception I currently have of them. Opener Too Young To Feel This Old is enjoyable enough but feels like it never quite takes off in the way it could. Lead single Lived A Lie (which hit 11 in the UK singles charts) is another song that feels like it doesn’t quite fulfil it’s potential, and bears strong resemblance to some of The Killers indie rock anthems without attaining the same level of hooks that have brought Brandon Flowers and co chart super-stardom every now and then.
Most recent single Fresh Start Fever on the other hand, is an enormously enjoyable track that shows exactly what You Me At Six are capable when they work to the maximum of their potential. Well paced with a great chorus lead in and a seismic chorus, this is arena level rock of the highest level. “Win Some, Lose Some” is another stand out track with a great vocal turn from font man Josh Franceschi and Hope For The Best has enough about it to get a crowd bouncing, It’s just a huge shame that Josh and co can’t keep this up across the album. Many of the songs like Room To Breathe are pleasant enough without being memorable and that in itself is part of the problem. Much of Cavalier Youth has a “pleasant”, “background music” feel to it, which is not what most people would want from a chart topping rock album.
In summary, there is nothing “wrong” with Cavalier Youth as such, but it feels like an enormous missed opportunity for You Me At Six to solidify their position at the top of the UK rock scene with an album of true quality. From a commercial standpoint they’re right up there, as you can’t argue with a number one album, but in this instance the music does not quite back up the sales. It feels as though they’ve fallen into the same trap as Bullet For My Valentine did with Temper Temper (and countless others before them), aiming for commercial success but at the expense of the quality of the musical output. It’s all the more frustrating when it’s obvious that the Surrey five piece have it in them to make a truly memorable rock album, but Cavalier Youth sadly isn’t it. Cavalier Youth as an album feels like You Me At Six have played it far too “safe” and that is a big shame.
You Me At Six’s Cavalier Youth is out now on Virgin Records / BMG Services.