You Me at Six have stepped back into the limelight with their sixth studio album VI, a genre bending powerhouse showcasing a new lease of life for the rock veterans. This album has seen Dan Austin brought on board to produce, his past works including the Pixies and Biffy Clyro, granting VI the confidence to boast a bold experimental course.
The introductory track ‘Fast Forward’ takes no prisoners. An alluringly ominous synth intro followed by a blazing array of drums, paired with Josh Franceschi’s dynamic vocals, produce a robust introduction into the band’s new sound. ‘Miracle in the Mourning’ follows a similar format, a feverish 3:15 of rock and synth blended.
‘3AM’ kicks into action with a catchy riff reminiscent of Tame Impala. These classic indie characteristics can always be found speckled throughout the album, and this radio friendly track is sure to be an instant fan favourite, with its irresistibly fun hook. ‘Back Again’ incorporates a similarly buoyant theme, veering into bubble-gum rock territory. It’s a sparkly and light-hearted track which begins to showcase the newfound jazz influences woven throughout the album, found in the bass playfully driving the track along.
jazz and rock fusion come to glorious fruition at the albums halfway point with ‘IOU’. This smooth cut incorporates a Santana style of guitar dripped in what can only be described as groove, coupled with Franceschi’s sleek low-tempo vocals; it’s a satisfying earworm.
Although, the album doesn’t stray entirely into the unknown, with a few recognisably guitar driven tracks gifted to long term fans of their sound. ‘Straight to My Head’ tells a tale of reminiscence and coming of age, with lyrics such as “I want to be where you are, I want to feel 21”, a nod toward their loyal fanbase who have matured alongside the band. The album closes on heartbreak ballad ‘Losing You’, with its swelling instrumentalism underneath intimate and honest lyrics about the all too public breakdown of Franceschi’s recent engagement. The track explores an interesting style of vocal layering, reverb and distortion, concluding the album on a somewhat ethereal note.
Overall, the concise ten tracks pack a lasting impact, updating You Me At Six’s rock origins by dabbling in new genres. With 14 years under their belt, it would be easy to see how the band could fall back into safe patterns, but this album represents a refreshing regeneration, and an optimistic outlook for their ever-evolving sound.
VI is out now.By Kat Ferris