With their highly anticipated fifth album, Night People, the UK’s You Me At Six (YMAS) are back with a very solid new record. The latest offering from the pop-rock outfit has a sense of clarity which continually shines through as the album progresses. Night People pays homage to the sound fans have come to love and expect, but also presents a willingness by the band to traverse new territory.
What’s perhaps the most impressive element, however, is the air of confidence that’s generated as the opening riff of the title track breaks through the distorted introduction. It’s this bluesy yet deliciously dirty, unapologetic sound that most definitely announces the band’s long-awaited return to the studio. It becomes clear almost immediately that this is an album from a band who have not only identified the core fundamentals of their sound but seem to have been waiting to push the boundaries of expectations for a while now, particularly after a solid ten years in the industry.
With tracks like ‘Heavy Soul’ and ‘Take On The World’, the album progresses back towards the known equilibrium, reminding fans that despite the heavier opening, the sweet familiarity of their pop-rock sound has not been lost. The familiar lightness of frontman Josh Franceschi’s vocals is highlighted by the return and blissful warmth of the lead guitar, a sound that YMAS fans have been pining for since the album announcement back in August last year. There’s also still a sweetness and lyrical vulnerability cutting through the midsection of the record. It’s these shades of sound which will appease fans, allowing ample time to warm up to the band’s perusal of a heavier direction.
But it’s the pace and heavy persistence of tracks like ‘Make Your Move’ and ‘Can’t Hold Back’, that will remind fans that the guys are most definitely not mucking about. It’s these tracks in particular, where the added element of the live recording process helps maintain the cohesiveness of the record.
Although some elements of sound on Night People present a slightly new direction for the band, there is no fleeting or wayward exploration for simply exploration’s sake. Longtime fans won’t feel alienated by this record. Rather you get the feeling that Night People is a way for YMAS to remind us that despite their hiatus the band are once again enjoying the process of making music.
‘Night People’ is out today. Grab a copy here.