Since the release of their emo-pop debut Take Off Your Colours You Me At Six have commanded a legion of loyal fans, many of whom have grown up alongside the band who were just teenagers themselves at the time.
13 years on and 7 albums later the band are now vying for the attention of those die-hards hoping for an Underdog revival alongside the Instagram generation feeding off the craze for hip/hop rock. The result is an ambitious, cross-generational record.
Throughout the 14 tracks, the Surrey born four-piece seamlessly skip through genres skillfully blending influences from frontman Josh Francesci’s eclectic music taste. The album opens with a crescendo of energy in the form of Nice to Me.
This garage rock sound, is the closest older fans will get to reliving the bands screamo phase. Francesci’s brutal vocals are spat across a raw guitar with relentless energy which continues into the equally heavy, lead single MAKEMEFEELALIVE.
The opening tracks have a strong teenage angst vibe. Both MAKEMEFEELALIVE and Beautiful Way contain lyrics which wouldn’t be amiss scribbled on the toilet walls in an all girls school. You Me At Six have often lacked depth within their lyrics, but here at times the anger within them feels directionless and narcissistic.
WYDRN is the epitome of lyrically soulless, although the band should be commended for attempting to blend R&B influences with their own sound. However it doesn’t quite stick as Francesci sounds like a heavier Justin Beiber singing about a break up with all the maturity of a teenager: “Until then keep my name out your mouth.”
The gritty Kill the Mood should instead be applauded for being an incredible exploration of their noise. Although nothing more than a bit track on the album, it’s maybe the most exciting as it bares little similarity to the You Me At Six we’ve all grown up with. It’s also dirtily catchy.
Title track SUCKAPUNCH is their best effort to blend old and new sounds as they fully embrace electronica. Universally appealing, this is easily the stand out track from the album and captures the essence of what makes You Me At Six so popular.
Back on familiar territory, Glasgow is the token slow track of the album. Although it’s unlikely that they will ever produce any track on the scale of 2017’s Take On The World they’ve given it a good go here. A building five minute long epic, ending in a crescendo that will inevitably become the stuff of legend during live sets.
And therein lies the real problem with SUCKAPUNCH. You Me At Six have spent over a decade becoming the face of British rock, evolving into worthy festival headliners and we finally have a stadium worthy album.
Virtually every track on this album teems with reckless guitar energy, there are choruses waiting to be chanted back at the band whilst plastic pints fly. This record is probably their most exciting since Take Off Your Colours but if this album tours at all, it’s unlikely to be to the size of audience it deserves.
At seven records in, You Me At Six are veterans on the music scene. To create a record this fresh is batting against the odds, but it can only further cement their place on the UK Rock scene.