Cavalier Youth – You Me At Six

The Surrey quintet continue on the mission to find their sound on their fourth album; Cavalier Youth.

You Me At Six’s sound has constantly been changing since their début album ‘Take Off Your Colours in 2008; with their last album ‘Sinners Never Sleep taking the darker music route, which many pop-punk bands have been trying to do recently. With Cavalier Youth the band has stepped away from those dark themes and have taken their music to a place which slightly mimics their second album ‘Hold Me Down’, along with a new place which regrettably is more indie-rock sounding.

you_me_at_six_cavalier_youthThe album’s opener, ‘Too Young To Feel This Old’, is definitely a great song as it warms you up to the beginning of the record, with a calming guitar riff that would fit nicely into any song on Hold Me Down. However once we have been welcomed, and – lead singer – Josh Franceschi’s vocals pour in, something seems slightly odd. It’s not that the singer’s voice is somewhat different, because his vocals have been constantly changing throughout his career; it’s that his voice sounds so different in that first verse that I thought it was a different band playing. Thankfully the rest of the track, especially the breakdown, sounds like classic You Me At Six; and has opened up the album on a high note.

‘Lived A Lie’ was the first single that was released from Cavalier Youth, and was also what gave me the first clue that they were, although still a rock band, moving more over to the Indie side of things. Don’t get me wrong it is an enjoyable song, and one which I am sure will get a great reaction from a live crowd; but it just did not sound like one of their tunes. In a way it did scream You Me At Six in every way possible, but something just appeared to be missing and it is so hard to put my finger on what it was. It is not a bad song though, and Lived A Lie does fit in with this album well.

I am trying in the hardest way to not make this sound like the only reason I am slightly disappointed with this album is because it is more indie-rock themed, because that is not the reason. I just think that the band – completed by Max Helyer on guitar, Chris Miller on guitar, Dan Flint on drums and Matt Barnes on bass – were able to do so well in their own genre – whether that be pop-punk or rock – that there is no need for them to try to change that. Why not carry on down the same road that they already know and improve on that, rather than changing genres.

As the album proceeds onwards we get a feel for the sound of the songs, and if there is one song that sums up the entire album it would be ‘Fresh Start Fever’; the second single released from Cavalier Youth. It is a heart-pounding, fist-pumping, lung-screaming anthem that is going to get a tremendous sing-a-long at the band’s live shows. From the dramatic piano opening, through the foot-tapping chorus and to the climax the song just keeps on giving and never lets up. It is a power ballad all the way.

However much the band want a sound that comes across as more mature, there are always going to be aspects of their original material found in their albums; and ‘Room To Breathe is an example of that. With its raw guitar riff and Franceschi’s rough shouting vocals, this track sounds like a sequel to the likewise sounding ‘Tigers and Sharks’ from Take Off Your Colours. It is obvious that the band want to show that they have grown up, and Cavalier Youth shows that; but it is great that they still bring some of the same sound from the songs that got them their first group of followers.

Just as the previous track takes the listeners back to the earliest of the band’s work, ‘Win Some, Lose Some’ enters the album with a dark melodic guitar riff that mirrors the songs of Sinners Never Sleep, in fact the entire song could fit right into place on that record. The next couple of songs, including tracks ‘Hope For The Best’ and ‘Love Me Like You Used To’, simply portray what it is that the band do best; write thought-provoking lyrics, catchy tunes and fast-paced choruses that will have their fans singing at the top of their lungs in their bedrooms.

‘Be Who You Are’ shows a completely different side to the band, older fans will know that Franceschi has always sang songs from his heart and has no problem letting people know that. However this track sounds too much like a pop song, and I generally have a problem with interludes. When I purchase an album by a band I really like and in the middle of the tracks there is an instrumental song, it riles me up a bit because I would much rather have a full-length song by the band that I can sing along to.

ymas-promos-011-webhighresAfter the album took a slight detour from what I would call ‘You Me At Six music’, it gets back on track with the penultimate song on the record, ‘Carpe Diem’. As with the album opener the song draws you in with a comfortable catchy guitar riff – along with the drums and vocals. It is just an enjoyable easy-listening song which urges you to want to get up and dance, all the way through the choruses and up to the very end. Carpe Diem has been so well placed on the track-listing just as ‘The Dilemma’ was at the end of Sinners Never Sleep, they both pick their albums up from previous grim feeling songs.

Cavalier Youth ends in a way that appears to be tradition on a You Me At Six album; at least from the last three albums. It concludes with the same deep slow-toned sound on ‘Wild Ones’ which, just as ‘Fireworks’ and ‘When We Were Younger’ did on the preceding albums, looks at a topic quite close to the singer’s heart. In the past he has sung about letting the one you love be free and wanting your parents to be proud of you, once again on Wild Ones the topic is love; and it appears to be about the way you feel when you are with that special person.

It would have been easy to have just listened to this album by one of my favourite bands and said everything that I liked about it, but there were just too many weak points; and with there being such high anticipation surrounding the release of this album, it really needed to be more of a hard hitter that blew everyone away.

People keep saying that on Cavalier Youth You Me At Six have finally found their sound, personally I think their sound was found a long time ago…and hopefully sometime soon they will go back to it.

Cavalier Youth is out now.

Listen to: Fresh Start Fever, Love Me Like You Used To and Carpe Diem.

The full track-listing is as follows:

Too Young To Feel This Old

Lived A Lie

Fresh Start Fever

Forgive And Forget

Room To Breathe

Win Some, Lose Some

Cold Night

Hope For The Best

Love Me Like You Used To

Be Who You Are

Carpe Diem

Wild Ones

Independence Day 2 Update

Roland Emmerich is known for creating ridiculously over-the-top disaster movies – such as 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow. However back in the 90s he created – along with a questionable Godzilla remake – a film that should be in most film lovers collections. The 1996 alien invasion film ‘Independence Day’; starring Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman.

independenceday1Independence Day took its audience on a wild ride, as Captain Steven Hiller and David Levinson attempted to find a weakness for the alien intruders, who were destroying major cities all over the world with their giant laser beams. There were some very epic scenes throughout the film, most were of walls of fire vaporising everything in its path. However the inspirational speech given by president Thomas J. Whitmore and the emotional battle ending, along with Will Smith’s humorous witty portrayal of the army pilot are arguably the best parts of the film.

Here’s the news. We all know that Hollywood loves to remake or create sequels of their most popular films, and now Independence Day – even with the fury of the fans – is also getting this treatment. There is no plot line for the sequel at the moment, however what we do know is that the film’s biggest star, Will Smith, is not returning to play his character; which I’m sure is the reason a lot of audience members saw the original in the first place.

It is quite hard to picture Independence Day without Smith, so how Emmerich plans to make the story work and still keep the fans happy is yet to be seen.

New Avengers Added To Age Of Ultron

At the moment every bit of new information about Avengers: Age of Ultron gets me more excited, and lets me know that the day when I can actually view the film is getting ever closer. Recently the new bits of information are of more avengers being added to the film.

The first new characters – which were actually announced a few weeks ago – are the super-fast Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and his sister, the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) who uses hexes to cause explosions, create force fields, burn objects, deflect magic attacks and stop the momentum of bullets or missiles. The Scarlet Witch is a vital part in the story, as she is one of the only Avengers who has a chance against the robotic Ultron. The pair are the children of the master of magnetism, Magneto; and are therefore also being featured in this years X-Men: Days of Future Past film, but with different actors playing them.

quickSome of the best news about the 2015 Avengers sequel to come out recently is also another character being added to the line-up. The Vision (being played by Paul Bettany) is finally going to be seen on the screen; he definitely deserves it as The Vision is one of the most famous Avengers. In the comic books, after Hank Pym (Ant-Man) creates Ultron and he turns against him, Ultron then creates an android with the power to fire beams of radiation and infrared and posses’ the power of flight and super-human strength; called The Vision. However he betrays Ultron and joins The Avengers. Whether this is what Joss Whedon is planning, we don’t know yet; especially with the story line of Ultron’s creation being changed. As most fans will know, the actor playing The Vision is also the voice of Tony Stark’s J.A.R.V.I.S artificial intelligence system, so that may factor into the story line.

vision2The anticipation for Avengers: Age of Ultron has grown even more.

The Gaslight Anthem: The B-Sides

Once again we are treated to the velvety-toned soothing vocals of Brian Fallon and the band on this compilation album; that offers fans: extra songs which did not make it on to the studio albums, acoustic renditions of various tracks from the band’s records and a handful of covers.

The-Gaslight-Anthem-The-B-Sides-coverThe Gaslight Anthem emerged in 2006 and kicked off their career with their hard-pounding album ‘Sink or Swim’ in 2007, it mixed hard-rock together with an essence of blues. In 2008 they released their second album ‘The 59 Sound’, the album which launched them into the spotlight. They were featured on the cover of Kerrang! Magazine when they released The 59 Sound, making history as the first band to ever do that without being previously featured in the magazine. With this album the band nudged more over to the blues side of things, with the album offering heart-felled calming love songs along with hard-hitting rock tracks. 2010 saw the band release their third album, ‘American Slang’. Although it is their weakest album to date, it was not a bad record. It just focused more on melodic guitar riffs, rather than heavy rock anthems like the previous two. In 2012, their fourth studio album ‘Handwritten’ was released, and it offered all of their best elements; heavy rock, soul-sounding vocals, enchanting lyrics and melodic guitars. Although some fans will always say that The 59 Sound is their best album; Handwritten is not far off.

The acoustic tracks originate from their albums, The 59 Sound and American Slang; except for Antonia Jane which is a cover originally by Lightening Dust. These songs are not just your typical, quick acoustic versions which you might find on a magazine’s podcast; no these are properly studio produced and are quite alternate versions to the original songs. Fallon is not just singing their songs quieter with an acoustic guitar, there are different aspects added, such as backing vocals and other instruments in the background. In a way these tracks seem slightly more intimate, partly because they are more relaxing than the originals, but also because Fallon recording some of them in his own home, and not a studio.

What I have to say did disappoint me quite a bit was the fact that when I read ‘The Gaslight Anthem; The B-Sides’ I assumed that I was getting a few of Gaslight’s own songs which I had not previously heard. Unfortunately there is only one, ‘She Loves You’, which does not feature on any of their albums; the rest are either covers or acoustic songs. The covers were a nice touch, but I’d rather hear their covers live than have them on a CD. Don’t get me wrong I am glad that I purchased it, and I understand that these are the B-Sides from their released singles but more of their own tracks would have made this compilation that little bit extra special.

gaslight-anthemThis album is a must for any avid Gaslight Anthem fans, but I would not recommend it for every-now-and-then listeners.

The Gaslight Anthem are currently writing for their next album, and I am always anxious to hear what they are working on next…here’s looking at you kids.

The full track-listing is as follows:

She Loves You – Recorded at The Magic Shop in NYC.

The 59′ Sound (Acoustic) – Recorded at 91.5 Radio New York Studios.

State Of Love And Trust (Live) – Pearl Jam Cover, Recorded Live at Webster Hall. New York.

Tumbling Dice – The Rolling Stones Cover, Recorded at The Magic Shop in NYC.

The Queen Of Lower Chelsea (Acoustic) – Recorded by Brian Fallon at His House.

Songs For Teenagers – Fake Problems Cover, Recorded by Brian Fallon.

Great Expectations (Acoustic) – Recorded at 91.5 Radio New York Studios.

Antonia Jane (Acoustic) – Lightning Dust Cover, Recorded at Cutting Rooms Studios, NYC.

American Slang (Acoustic) – Recorded at The Magic Shop in NYC.

Boxer (Acoustic) – Recorded by Brian Fallon at His House.

Once Upon A Time – Robert Bradley’s Blackwater Surprise Cover, Recorded Sage and Sound Studios and Mad Dog Studios.