British rock staples You Me At Six have come a long way since the naive beginnings of debut, 'Take Off Your Colours'. This newest effort is the band’s sixth, and when comparing the two albums, the journey they have taken to get to this point couldn’t be more evident. ‘VI’ is a strange ride, but it is the one the band were going to have to take after fourteen years together. In what is their most genre-defying release yet, ‘VI’ shakes things up considerably, playing on the band’s distinctive ability to write unforgettable pop hooks, presented in a new territory of indie swagger and dance-driven synths.
‘Fast Forward’ and ‘Straight To My Head’ ease you into this new era with familiar full-force alt-rock anthems, but things are quickly thrown into the deep end when third track ‘Back Again’ comes around. Introducing the most 'chart pop' track the band have ever written so early on in the record is a sweet surprise, and feels liberating instead of desperate. Paired with ‘Miracle In The Mourning’, You Me At Six present back-to-back, indie headspins for anyone who has been a fan of since the beginning.
The ingenuity continues with ‘IOU’, the most experimental on the album. Smooth beats translated through the band’s instruments are to be applauded in what could have been an overly ambitious trainwreck. It's not an effort to remove themselves from their past, however, as droning garage rock on ‘Predictable’ echoes of the darker sides the band explored on 2011’s ‘Sinners Never Sleep’, but translated in their current guise.
‘VI’ is an album to be commended; it's a refreshing take after five full-lengths, and sets the bar high and the door wide open for a whole host of possibilities in the band’s musical voyage.