This is an ode to my 16 year-old self who had taken this band, incorporated them into her life and made it part of her musical preference identity (if there is such a thing).
If you were a fan of Paramore, you’d also have been a fan of You Me At Six – or at least heard of them because of their tight affiliations.
I, like many girls who treated Hot Topic as their H&M, was a huge fan back when I was in my teens. From time to time, I kept track of them but sort of lost interest after Sinners Never Sleep (which is still one of my favourite albums of all time regardless of age or ‘musical maturity’ – whatever the fuck). In 2014, You Me At Six (YMAS) released Cavalier Youth. During the time, I was teetering on the edges between loving and hating it but settled for indifference. It was a solid album but nothing compared to its predecessor in my – very – personal opinion. However, like I said, it was good, it was You Me At Six.
Now, fast forward to three years later, they’ve released a new full-length album called Night People. Bear in mind, this was after a 3-year gap of vagueness. No EPs, save for a few singles in 2016. Even though I’d lost interest in their stuff, I was still following them on Twitter so when they dropped the bomb that a new album was about to come out, curiosity got the better of me. I mean why not? The fact that this band had been with me for the good part of my teenage years warrants this curiosity, this sort of longing hopefulness that they would put up another album and indirectly inform those who’ve been with them since their 2008 debut; Take Off Your Colours they’re still here, still making music.
Before I go further, I will preface this by saying it’ll be a completely biased review based on my personal take on the band but the conclusion will be from a neutral standpoint (if I can manage that). Here goes.
I listened to this with no expectation in mind save for the curiosity on how their new album would sound like compared to the previous ones. Now, this is strictly based on a first-time listen and I was met with slight disappointment. The lacklustre production quality mixed together with the same old YMAS vibe just left me with a painful grimace. Here is a band who clearly has not…. grown… with the times. It was as if they were adamant on keeping the same-aged range fanbase throughout their entire career – which, is all too fine if that’s what they’re aiming at but for longtime fans, or people who’ve known them since the very beginning, this album certainly hasn’t wow-ed us. It doesn’t have the essence of growth and maturity that comes with years of making music.
It was as if – and forgive me for being crass – they’ve thrown in shitty riffs and tried to fit in as many verses/words as they could into the song progression. It was just bad overall. Now, YMAS is well-known to do that. This disastrous feat is common and shared amongst others like Sleeping With Sirens but with YMAS, it was a hit or miss. Sometimes they fit and sometimes they’re bad but it is always present. In this album, it was as if they couldn’t give two shits about the composition and jumped straight to devising ways to make the chorus catchy. Even the slow songs didn’t evoke any nostalgia like I thought they would.
Night People is akin to stale bread, it’s bland, reused and recycled from the same source just churned out into multiple variations. I’m sad because I’d expected more from them, especially after 2 years of working on this album.
But I promised an unbiased review so here goes – production quality is subpar, I have to say. The songs are repetitive and generally sound the same but Josh Franceschi’s voice is still a prominent feature that was dearly missed by the fans,despite the rawness and lack of perfectly clean vocals (maybe then again, this was intentional). I have also fallen into that chasm of longing to listen to him sing some new songs. I did enjoy Take On The World and it’s probably my favourite song off of this album.
All in all, there is nothing relatively special about Night People. It still bears the same You Me At Six trademark, distinctly so, and to fans who expect nothing less and nothing more, this is perfect for you. However, to those who had expected change in sound, sad to say this will disappoint. A good 3 out of 5 at most.