It’s been three years since You Me At Six released Cavalier Youth, their first album to debut at number one and subsequently the record that cemented them as one of the biggest bands in British rock. The follow-up, of course, has been highly anticipated. The few tracks that have been drip-fed to fans coming as much of a surprise, with darker undertones that gave an indication the band have stepped away from their usual style of easy-listening modern rock. It’s name? Night People.
To begin with we have the eponymous track; the first single to be released back in August which sent You Me At Six’s dedicated fanbase in to a wild frenzy. It was only a few days later that they pulled off a highly-publicised stunt where they took to Reading & Leeds festivals to perform secret sets to those in the know. It was a listener’s first idea of what avenue Night People would be heading down, shrouded in mystery and featuring one hell of a seductive beat.
‘Plus One’ is all short, sniping lyrics and impressive guitar licks, the band’s decidedly elaborate way of proving they’re more than just a money-making, radio-friendly pop rock band. It floats on top as one of the best the album has to offer, utilising the skills of each band member to make a solid, no nonsense track. ‘Take On The World’ delivers a complete contrast; it’s reminiscent of older You Me At Six material but ultimately falls flat. It will no doubt tide over the fans who are not necessarily willing to get onboard with the new sound, but from a critical perspective it holds no candle to what the rest of the record proves the five piece can do.
Night People sees You Me At Six depart from major label Virgin Records and take a chance on Infectious Music, a semi-indie label that’s home to much smaller bands such as Local Natives and Superfood. Creatively, it was probably the best decision in terms of the band being able to take the album in the direction they truly wanted. Another particularly brilliant song is ‘Spell It Out’, a slow-build gem that draws influence from the likes of classic rock, and even becomes soulful from the right angles. It’s a touching thought, knowing that this is a record crafted how it was always intended.
The finale, ‘Give’, was the third single to be released and so is nothing new to avid listeners. Regardless, its huge chorus and intricate parts that all meld together cohesively make it the perfect track to finish off what is a capable album. It’s capable of sitting as one of the more successful albums in You Me At Six’s discography… but it was also capable of more.