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

¡Uno! – Green Day

Green Day deliver an album which takes them back to their Dookie days.

The album starts off with an explosive boom, as ‘Nuclear Family’ kicks in and starts off the 12-track record, straight away it is clear that the trio have attempted to go back to their roots with this album; as the song starts off with a three-fingered riff which is similar to the style of 1994 album, ‘Dookie’. This is a good thing, as with the release of 2004 album, ‘American Idiot’, a lot of Green Day fans did not like the new style of the band, who played giant rock operas, instead they wanted to see the old Green Day (before 1995). The band, made up of Billie Joe Armstrong (vocals/guitar), Mike Dirnt (vocals/bass) and Tre Cool (vocals/drums), have not just simply repeated what they created back in 1994 though, they have added different aspects, such as powerful solos, to make songs which old through to new Green Day fans will appreciate.

Green-Day-UNOThe album is off to a smashing start, and makes me want to listen on in the hope that the rest of the record is like this. The song also opens up to the next part of the album by counting down from 10 at the end.

The record continues on its path to launching the band in to super-stardom once again, as second track ‘Stay The Night’ kicks in, it is another amazing song which gives of the ‘Dookie’ feeling with an extended breakdown and a chorus which you wont be able to help but sing to and will be running around your head for weeks to come.

As soon as ‘Let Yourself Go’ starts, it jumps into the song like ‘St. Jimmy’ did on their ‘American Idiot’ album, and although it is a completely different song, it still portrays the anger and non-compliance that ‘St. Jimmy’ (and most of ‘American Idiot’) gave out. However this time it is about being absolutely pissed off with someone, rather than the whole government, and wanting to beat the s**t out of them, with lyrics like “shut your mouth because you’re talking too much, and I don’t give a f**k anyway”. With Tre Cool screaming “shut the f**k up” in the background and the gritty sound of Armstrong’s voice, you can really feel the aggression coming from song.

‘Kill The DJ’, the second single released from ‘¡Uno!’, shows the band trying something new, a sort of disco theme which really doesn’t fit in with the rest of the album; as it doesn’t show who the band are and what they can do. Green Day can wander out of their comfort zone to create something different, but not go so far as to play a song better suited for a different genre. The string wobbling solo during in the breakdown is a nice touch though.

The sixth track ‘Fell For You’ shows that the band, amongst writing rock operas, can still write songs about love and having a crush on someone, it is not a mushy-gooey song about falling head over heels for someone though; as the trio do the song in their own punk themed way By having lyrics such as “I crash into you, ’cause you crashed in my imagination too. Break a leg and you crush my heart, I’m a mess and you’re a work of art” are not your usual love song lyrics.

As ‘Loss Of Control’ starts, the song shows off what the band have to offer, on every album the band have brought out through the years they have shown off each instrument to its full potential. Green Day are not just about the guitar and drums, they show off the bass guitar for the instrument which it is, whether it is throughout the classic ‘Longview’ track from ‘Dookie’ or the opening to ‘Loss Of Control’, Mike Dirnt shows off his skills on an instrument which is too underrated these days.

The band formed in Oakland, California in 1987, and have been creating punk/rock music ever since. Their first album being ’39/Smooth’ in 1990, which was released through (now deceased) Lookout! Records, along with their 1992 album ‘Kerplunk’. However it wasn’t until 1994 when Green Day released ‘Dookie’ that they were put onto the musical map, and signed to a much bigger label, Reprise Records. Once the band made the decision to sign to Reprise Records some fans thought they had sold out because they weren’t trying to support independent labels anymore. The band still held a wide fan base though, through their later albums ‘Insomniac’ (1995) and ‘Nimrod’ (1997). However when they released ‘Warning’ in 2000, it seemed that the punk aggression of the trio had fizzled out, with them playing a whole acoustic style album. It wasn’t over though as the world watched, when the band created the rock opera ‘American Idiot’ in 2004, which centred around a boy named Jimmy. They were put back on to the map and had created another album which would go down in punk history. 2009 saw Green Day release their second rock opera ’21st Century Breakdown’, this time focusing on a boy and girl named Christian and Gloria. Although the record was not as hard-hitting as ‘American Idiot’ it was still an all round success. This album, ‘¡Uno!’, is the first in a trilogy of albums which the band are releasing, the second being ‘¡Dos!’, November 13th, and the third being ‘¡Tre!’, January 15th.

green‘Sweet 16’ is another example of the band’s, or perhaps just Armstrong’s, softer side, which could possibly be written about his wife, Adrienne Nesser, who was also his high school sweetheart.

‘Rusty James’ has a deep meaning to the lyrics, the song is written about some of the old bands which Green Day used to play with when they were on the Californian punk scene, and the song asks where are they now, Green Day are still fighting for their cause rather than changing themselves for the mainstream.

It was odd when I discovered that the final track on the album, ‘Oh Love’, was the first single which had been released, however it is typical of Green Day to not follow the conventional rules. The song shows elements of classic Green Day and also a new style of palm-muted-string playing, which we first saw on the track ‘East Jesus Nowhere’ from ’21st Century Breakdown’. The song finishes off ‘¡Uno!’ just as powerfully as it began, and gets us ready for ‘¡Dos!’, the second in the trilogy.

This album has shown the whimsical riffs of the early albums and put them together with the talented writing and power of the more recent albums mixed in with a surge of rock and roll…a great album all round.

Green Day are back!!!

Listen to: Nuclear Family, Carpe Diem and Rusty James.

The Full Track-Listing is as Follows:

Nuclear Family

Stay The Night

Carpe Diem

Let Yourself Go

Kill The DJ

Fell For You

Loss Of Control

Troublemaker

Angel Blue

Sweet 16

Rusty James

Oh Love