A partial Six-cess

Latest album from UK rockers You Me at Six is a summer jam, if a bit derivative

If you’re searching for an album to play with the car top down while cruising down the highway this summer, You Me At Six’s latest album “Cavalier Youth” is exactly what you’re looking for. With upbeat rhythms and stylistic diversity from a band already deep into their career, “Cavalier” continues the group’s broadcast of the hopeful, despite including songs that vacillate between heavy and light.

Between happier tracks like “Be Who You Are,” and darker offerings like, “Love Me Like You Used To,” lead singer Josh Franceschi exhibits the impressive range of his vocal abilities.

Franceschi sings in a timbre and tone similar to Coldplay’s Chris Martin on “Forgive and Forget,” while his voice takes on the more nasal characteristics of the band’s earlier, more punk material on “Too Young to Feel This Old.” Even a hint of the gravelly, rough vocals of Bring Me the Horizon’s Oliver Sykes — featured on the band’s latest record — can be heard in tracks like “Win Some, Lose Some,” though this vocal trend is a fleeting one.

“Cavalier Youth” also centers around drummer Dan Flint’s kick pedals. “Wild Ones” and “Lived a Lie” both make percussive elements front and center. Equally heavy guitars parallel the solid backbeats in songs like “Too Young,” which lends to a more morose feel — at times, eliciting an All Time Low-type feel, though mellower and more controlled.

There are some exceptions to the rules of the album, though. Standout track “Fresh Start Fever” capitalizes on the dance-pop of reinvented Fall Out Boy, and “Cold Night,” a soft addition to an extremely upbeat track listing, portrays sweet guitar melodies, offsetting the static drudgery to which alternative rock albums too often succumb. These two cuts stray far from the path of other selections on “Youth,” with a style comparable to the pop-rock of Boys Like Girls and Jack’s Mannequin.

The album, on a more microscopic level, has many instrumental quirks which create a layer of subtle but welcome depth. In “Lived a Lie,” a simple “ping” sound from a guitar or keyboard brings an air of whimsy to the otherwise edgy tune. “Forgive and Forget,” meanwhile, ups the ante with the simple, clear clack of drumsticks, breaking the monotony of the track’s weighty drums. The layered vocals on the track are also fantastic.

Despite these hallmarks, “Cavalier Youth” fails to captivate in some instances. Each song sounds too similar to the one before it, hindering any lasting effect this set of tracks may have on the alternative rock world.

Still, this deficiency can be partially forgiven. “Cavalier Youth” balances fun and upbeat tones with occasional ventures into darker realms without getting too personal or ridiculous. With a sound that could win over fans of their contemporaries, You Me At Six delivers another enjoyable, though at times derivative, album.

Published February 17, 2014 in Arts and Entertainment, tableau

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