You Me At Six’s newest release, Cavalier Youth is a tough grade to give. One the one hand, it has some of the absolute best written pop songs that I’ve heard in years. On the other, several songs feel extremely generic, almost as if B-sides were needed to get the album through production. You Me At Six have put together an extraordinarily varied package that will hit the listener differently depending on what style of rock they prefer.
Cavalier Youth is a highly energetic album that has perhaps the best opening half I have heard on a pop album since Fall Out Boy’s Infinity On High. The first four songs are bold, powerful and worth the price of admission on their own merit. They’re incredibly well written and ready to dominate any and all radio stations.
Vocalist Josh Franceschi absolutely pushed himself to the limit with an impressively wide range of notes that rival that of 30 Seconds to Mars vocalist Jared Leto. While the guitars are well written and memorable, what really shines through is drummer Dan Flint. He’s one of the more impressive drummers I’ve heard in a long time, often overpowering the songs with varied tempos that range from militaristic snare rolls (“Forgive and Forget”) to thundering tremors (“Room To Breathe”).
While the end of the album comes back on top, the middle section reeks of a generic sound that I personally associate with bands like Three Days Grace. If that happens to be what you dig though, you may find some magic in this section of the record that I myself do not. Personally though, I found Cavalier Youth to go from a full on sprint to a winded jog rather quickly, huffing away sorely in the middle before it came back with an extremely catchy final half.
“Lived a Lie” is in incredibly powerful song with a racing chorus that simply demands to be a standard at live shows. “Fresh Start Fever” is a dark, fast song that sounds like a forgotten track from Panic! At the Disco’s more macabre sounding songs. “Be Who You Are” is the softest and shortest song on the record, that begins to fade out almost as soon as it really begins, but is so hypnotically gorgeous as it blends the slide of electric over an acoustic guitar.
You Me At Six show that they’re profound musicians, able to write music that by most standards should make them a household name. Cavalier Youth can have both ups and downs depending on your particular tastes, and can disappoint if you expect the first half to carry the entire album.
Although it isn’t perfect by any means, this is an album that you should be listening to. Each bridge and chorus will keep you guessing, touches most styles of rock and has impressive vocals that never stop pushing themselves. You Me At Six haven’t created the definitive pop album, but they’ve put together something that pushes every boundary around them as much as they can.
by Kyle Schultz