To celebrate the release of You Me At Six’s newest single ‘What’s It Like’ and the announcement of a new record coming early 2020, let’s take a look at the rockers’ six studio albums to date and how they stack up…
6. Cavalier Youth (2014)
Although it’s ranked lowest on this list, Cavalier Youth is home to some of You Me At Six’s most-loved tracks.
‘Room to Breathe’ and ‘Fresh Start Fever’ continued the heavy rock sound from their previous effort, and are firm fan favourites alongside FIFA 14 banger ‘Lived a Lie’; while ‘Cold Night’ and ‘Be Who You Are’ showed an attention to musicality which anticipated the band’s newfound maturity.
Unfortunately, the record lacks cohesion and is stuffed with extraneous tracks. ‘Forgive and Forget’, ‘Win Some, Lose Some’ and ‘Love Me Like You Used To’ blur into one, while ‘Hope for the Best’ is cheap filler.
While some of the cheesier songs surprisingly work (‘Carpe Diem’, ‘Wild Ones’), teen romance opener ‘Too Young to Feel This Old’ lets listeners know from the get-go that this is going to be a bumpy ride, especially coming on the tail of that record…
5. Hold Me Down (2010)
Stripping the pop from the punk of their debut, Hold Me Down largely ditches the bubblegum riffs and bouncy choruses of YMAS’ first record to sharpen their heavier side.
That’s not to say HMD doesn’t have its lighter moments – ‘Underdog’ is a pop punk classic, while ‘Liquid Confidence’ is an optimistic ode to friendship which comes off as naturalistic as Cavalier Youth‘s attempts to repeat the same themes do contrived.
While the musicality in this sophomore effort is evidently heads and and shoulders above its predecessor, HMD loses points for a lack of ambition and overarching vision which came with subsequent albums.
4. Take Off Your Colours (2008)
YMAS’ debut album took the UK pop punk scene by storm, described by some as a British answer to US giants such as Fall Out Boy and Panic! At the Disco. It bursts with unforgettable banger after unforgettable banger, its coming-of-age stories of sex and youth having sound-tracked many house parties and Sixth Form pre-drinks up and down the country.
While the record’s carefree sound might be jarring for new fans of the band – especially after they re-branded as a more ‘mature’ band with Night People – no lover of pop punk would want to miss this one.
The mixing might sometimes sound more like a studio demo than a finished album and the instrumentation leaves something to be desired, but the album’s raw sound is part of its charm.
3. Night People (2017)
Night People does sometimes sound like a band self-consciously shedding off their skin, and this is, in effect, what it is. Having grown up with their fan base, You Me At Six sought to reinvent themselves as the kind of ‘mature’ rock band their original fans might have discovered. In doing so, they managed to shake off some of the excesses that had bogged down their previous efforts.
At a short but sweet ten tracks long, no song on Night People feels extraneous, and the record’s seamless flow lends it an almost narrative-esque quality. Masterful songs such as ‘Spell It Out’ demonstrate a newfound knack for musicality, while the anthemic titular single is indicative of the new heights YMAS were striving to reach.
But the band were keen to demonstrate they weren’t leaving it all behind – ‘Swear’ is as good a rock song as any the band have put out, while ‘Take On The World’ and ‘Give’ are a perfection of the band’s ballad form.
2. Sinners Never Sleep (2011)
In Oceans Away, the documentary bundled with special editions of Cavalier Youth, YMAS said they didn’t want to be remembered just as the band who released Sinners, the record which propelled them into stardom.
With the help of Bring Me The Horizon’s Oli Sykes on the phenomenal ‘Bite My Tongue’, the band succeeded in transforming themselves from pop punkers to serious contenders for the alternative crown.
While Sinners was already beginning to feel quite bloated and all over the shop, the quality of its tracks meant that this was more forgivable than in Cavalier Youth. Heavy songs were joined by stranger, more experimental tracks, such as the narrative ‘The Dilemma’ and stripped back closer ‘When We Were Younger’, propelling YMAS into the strata of ‘serious rock bands’ two whole records before Night People tried to solidify their status as such.
Sinners may not be the band’s best album, but it represents a high point of British alternative rock and might forever be the one that springs to mind when a since-strayed fan hears the words ‘You Me At Six’.
1. VI (2018)
With their most recent full length effort, You Me At Six finally managed to emerge from the shadows of Sinners Never Sleep with an album that never seems like it’s trying to be anything more than it is, and as such feels like the band’s most effortless.
Finally incorporating the band’s well-documented love for hip hop, VI only has a handful of true rock songs, instead fusing pop and dance elements in many of its tracks.
The final result is a surprisingly cohesive record that seems to sound like everything Cavalier Youth was trying to accomplish – a fun, light hearted record which nevertheless screams of musical maturity and experimentation, forging a new identity for the band while being its most consistently listenable to date.