You Me At Six wanted to make a statement moving into 2021 with their new release. We haven’t seen new music from the artist since 2018, so the thought of some new tunes intrigued the masses. Let’s dive in to see where this new age of You Me At Six will take us. From the jump, it is easy to say that this record is not easy to pinpoint. This album shifts, twists, and turns so much so that it is hard to distinguish what the intent of the record is. However, as you allow the album to simmer, the picture begins to come to fruition. As one listens, it becomes apparent that the artist is making a connection between emotives with the main genre in the spotlight. This approach to music is interesting, for it allows the artist to include impact moments, while creating a record that has the potential to appeal to many with single selections. To string a record together in this manner needs a sense of cohesion that ties everything together. It seems as if the band is maintaining their traditional approach to music as a foundational component (traditional rock set-up with a nod to the alternative punk genre), but the question still arises: is this record working more as a whole? Or is it just a group of singles tied together to create an album? This choppy nature stunts the listeners, but when taking a step back to listen to the music as a whole- the music is solid, but nothing incredible. The stereotypical “pop” music genre template is followed in each track- nothing overly experimental, additional to the format, occurs. A lack of experimentation does not make the record lesser by any means, but it does make it difficult for the artist to stand out. The instrumentals on this record offer a redeeming factor because they toy with harmonies that traditionally fall in the rock music genre paired with instrumentalists that are just digging into their instrumental parts to balance out the vocals. Overall, I am giving this record a 3 out of 5 stars. I battled with this rating for a while, but I landed on it for a variety of reasons. The main reason is that the music that falls on the inside is good- there is nothing wrong with the construction and execution of each selection; however, the uneven distribution of approach and genre makes the experience unsettling. I believe the intent for this record was solid, but the execution made it hard to want to return for another listen, which ultimately overtakes the musical experience.
“Glasgow”, “Beautiful Way”, and “Adrenaline”
When diving into this record, naming the top tunes becomes a tad difficult since the artist is toying with a variety of genres in a way that makes the album bend and twist in terms of preference. When taking a step back, it was easily said that these three tracks would most likely connect with older and newer fans of the band. This is due to the fundamental core set in the alternative rock genre with the vocalist altering his approach to fit the meaning of the selection. As mentioned in the general review, this record is very hard to rigidly describe, so it is best to follow through the journey that the artist sets for the listener, but if you just want a taste: I would start here.
The first look at this album artwork will have you wanting more. If you’re familiar with the You Me At Six aesthetic style, throw that out the window for this record because that‘s exactly what the artist did. Before this release, the band would normally follow a simple image to connect to the music that fell on the inside. I would always connect it to the notion that the artist wanted to provide enough introductory knowledge while allowing the music to speak for itself. However, with this record: they had something to say. The front of this record resonates in a monochromatic color scheme with its established yellow and brown center. The main event, however, lies in the members of the band in a blur. The members of the band are depicting several emotions in a cluster, acting as if they are whole as one, experiencing a variety of emotions. This alone will impact listeners, so let’s dive in to see if the music matches the art. As one listens to the tracks on the make, it is evident that the artist is toying with a variety of genres. It is often that a genre shift is followed by a thematic shift within the lyrics of the selection. This approach to creating an overall album would throw many off, and arguably, at first listen, I was thrown, but as one continues to listen those abstract connections begin to slot in place. This works for that record because the random shifting actually fits the mold of what the artist is portraying on the front cover. The untraditional nature of the cover makes room for the non-traditional approach to music. In general, I would say the pair works stronger together. This allows the audience to truly understand the full scope of this record.
*”SUCKAPUNCH” was released on January 15th, 2021 through AWAL Recordings ltd.