For a genre that hasn’t been in the spotlight for a while, British rock band You Me At Six are out to bring it back, bigger and better. With heavy guitars, catchy verses and poppy choruses, Cavalier Youth is definitely one of the best albums of it’s kind for a long while now. The two singles ‘Lived A Lie’ and ‘Fresh Start Fever’ were hits, attacking both the charts and radio stations and making their way onto BBC Radio 1 daily playlists. They completely reflect the sound of Cavalier Youth, and as the album progresses it shows what this new sound of British rock is really capable of.
After such an accomplishment as selling out a Wembley Arena, the bar has been set high for the band to release a flawless, powerful rock album. Luckily for the band, they’ve gone from strength to strength and Cavalier Youth does not disappoint.
The album’s opening track ‘Too Young To Feel This Old’ is one of the best. It’s filled with pounding drums and pop-like guitar melodies and in this song in particular it is very clear that You Me At Six have matured as a band, with more uplifting lyrics that mostly revolve around the theme of moving on and being your own person. The band have made a complete change from their previous full length Sinners Never Sleep which was released in 2011. Sinners was much darker album, so it seems like the band made it a priority to give this album a more positive vibe, yet made sure to not sound too much like feel-good pop rock. It is a perfect blend of relatable emotion and positivity.
‘Win Some, Lose Some’ stands out as a highlight of the album, if not the best track. It has the full package: loud rock guitars, a chorus which gets stuck in your head in seconds, and by far some of their best lyrics to date. It includes the line
“In this life I sing till I get chest pains, I’m in a different district, Hunger Games. I don’t know if we’ll make it anymore. Put me, put me on a pedestal, let’s see, let’s see if I rise or fall.” This song is a milestone in their career as musicians, showing how they’ve changed and improved, yet managed to keep their sound similar enough for old fans to enjoy it just as much as the new ones.
Although, just because they have made such a strong transition from Sinners Never Sleep, it doesn’t mean that they’ve lost their edge. Tracks ‘Room To Breathe’ and ‘Love Me Like You Used To’ portray a heavier sound of the album, but possibly could have been pushed a little further to show the band’s new found capability, gained from working with producer Neal Avron (Yellowcard, New Found Glory), who pushed them to get as much out of this album as possible.
What is really interesting about this album is their use of slower tracks and even an interlude, which is a first for any of their four albums. Slower tracks such as ‘Wild Ones’, ‘Cold Night’, and interlude ‘Be Who You Are’ seem to separate the album into different sections. The opening feels more stressful, emotional and based on the past, whereas the middle is describing the bands change, for example with the track ‘Hope For The Best’.
The end section features ‘Carpe Diem’ and ‘Wild Ones’, which are both clearly based around the theme of love and happiness. ‘Carpe Diem’ features such lines as “We’re California dreaming” and “I have no regrets, carpe diem to the bitter end”. You Me At Six really deliver on their positive songs, and are always fan favourites that are sure to go down well at their live shows.
The closing track ‘Wild Ones’ is a slow song, which comes unexpectedly as the title implies a very upbeat track. Despite expectations of an energetic closing track, upon listening to the rest of the album, it was a very good choice to end the album with this song and it doesn’t feel like it would fit anywhere else in the album. The lyrics are simple, yet very smart and effective, and some of the best on the album. “You’re the better half of me, you’re the only half I need”. The album ends with the repetitive chanting of “Are we gonna live forever?” which leaves you wondering what the next we’ll see of You Me At Six will be like, and whether their sound will live on.