You Me At Six are the band I’ve loved the longest. Every one of their albums sounds like home to me, so it’s always a little nerve wracking when they release new music because I never want to lose that sense of comfort that they provide me with. But, as with any of your favourite musicians, you have to learn to trust the changes they choose to make, and believe that these changes are being made for the better.
Prior to the release date, we were given a taste of what was to come, and in all honesty, out of the five, I was only completely blown away by Give and Heavy Soul (the former of which I listened to on repeat, and cried over for weeks). Listening to the album as a whole, however, is an utterly different experience. It creates a full and coherent sound that makes up every great record, and which I could bask in forever.
Night People opens with the title track that blessed our ears back in August, and now, having listened to the album in its entirety, I can see that it’s a much stronger track than I had initially thought. The first song on any album has to grab the listener, it has to make them want to hear what the rest of the album is all about, and give them an idea of what they might expect. With nine tracks in its wake, Night People definitely succeeds in that, but at the same time, for the most part, that doesn’t mean that it’s predictable in any way. Plus One follows with a similar vibe in that Josh’s voice is a little harsh, a little husky, and some might even say a little sexy. While, to me, it is the least striking out of the ten songs, it does leave room for the following eight to blow your mind, something that they do with ease.
“It’s been a hell of a week, I couldn’t bring myself to sleep
On the move, move with you, raise a glass to tomorrow’s blues.”
– Night People
While I genuinely do adore every track on Night People, I think most would agree that – perhaps with the exception of a few tracks on Sinners Never Sleep – the band’s strength lies in their more intimate songs. They’re generally the ones that get the best crowd response at shows, and they show off the band’s sweet and soft side, inciting sentiment in the listener. Josh’s voice excels in the third and fourth tracks, Heavy Soul (another pre-release) and Brand New, and the relatability of the lyrics have you holding onto them for dear life. The words hit you before you’ve even realised what’s happening, and suddenly you’re bawling your eyes out while you fold your laundry on a Saturday morning, as your laptop launches into the chorus of Take On the World.
“I can see, see the pain in your eyes, oh, believe. believe me and I have tried
No I won’t, I won’t pretend to know what you’ve been through,
You should know, I wish it was me, not you.”
– Take On the World
Swear is one of the five tracks we were given prior to January 6th, and it’s one that grows on me the more I listen to it. Josh’s lyrics often tend to be at opposite ends of the spectrum – either full of love or full of bitterness – and Swear fits perfectly into the latter. It has a vibe that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on 2011’s Sinners Never Sleep, an album that was born from the band being told they’d never amount to anything. It’s a great vibe to have, considering that, ironically, it was the album that got YMAS to where they are today. It can only mean that even greater things are to come.
In contrast, Make Your Move is unlike anything we’ve ever heard from them before, with hints of something that might remind you of Imagine Dragons. Only better. The lyrics are simple, but this enabled the band to go back to basics with the creation of an uncomplicated rock song. It is followed by Can’t Hold Back, which provides a sick bass line and some wonderfully grudging lyrics that give you all the encouragement you might need to just let rip at whoever’s deserving of your wrath.
“And if your past calls don’t you pick it up, it’s got nothing new to say,
I know that people change but never stay the same and leave without a trace.”
– Brand New
Spell It Out takes an entirely different turn, and actually reminds me of the feeling I got when I first listened to When We Were Younger (Sinners Never Sleep). It’s a song that needs to remain stripped back and simple in order to emphasise the fact that the lyrics are equally as important as the music. Although it’s the penultimate track, it still has a sense of finality to it, brought about by the slow build up from the soft piano to the climax, before dying back down again. It’s a track that stimulates emotion, and although I haven’t been able to figure out quite where that emotion comes from just yet, it’s very real and the tears just won’t give me a break.
The release of Give came at a time when I was missing someone terribly, and so naturally I tortured myself by listening to it over and over. You might think that by the time Night People finally came out, that I’d be sick of it, but I still find myself going back and listening to the last song on the album multiple times in a row. To me, it’s a song that you can make to be about anything or anyone, and it’s no wonder that the band received an influx of messages telling them it was one of their favourite You Me At Six songs ever. The abrupt end makes it an interesting choice for the closing track, but somehow, I think it works perfectly. I like to make a metaphor out of everything, and I see it as a reminder that anything can end suddenly, and that we should make the most of it while we can.
“How long should I wait to feel myself, feel myself again?
Cause I don’t think you hate, when we’re side by side but going two separate ways.”
As each track passed, I was struck with the feeling that they were all written to be performed live. You Me At Six are an incredible live band, you only need to listen to/watch The Final Night of Sin to know that, and I can barely contain my excitement at getting to see this album performed live in London in April.
Every band wants their latest album to be their best. They all want to continue to improve with every piece of music that they create, and it’s clear that the guys in You Me At Six have put everything they have into these ten songs in order to make that happen with Night People. And it has. Happened, I mean. They took a risk, they changed things up, and maybe it’s because it’s shiny and new, but it might just be my favourite yet.
Favourite tracks: Brand New/Take On the World