My eyebrows automatically rise when a band are insisting that their new music is “really different”. I immediately suspect that it will only be more of the same – especially when their last album brought them as much success as You Me At Six’s Cavalier Youth. I feared that they’d just try to reproduce that.
Fortunately, I was mistaken.
Night People is miles away from the pop-punk the Surrey lads started out with, and it’s a departure from the shiny production of Cavalier Youth. This is back-to-basics, grungy rock, with heavy riffs and anthemic chorus’s reminiscent of Foo Fighters. This is a band who want – and expect – to be headlining festivals and doing stadium tours in the near future.
Title track ‘Night People’ opens the record with stomping sounds and funky undertones. It immediately makes you want to jump and dance around – no cool, vaguely-ambivalent head nodding allowed. This is a feeling that lasts throughout, particularly on the stand-out tracks ‘Heavy Soul’ and ‘Plus One’.
Ballad-esque ‘Take on the World’ is the record’s only weak link – it’s meant to be the lighters-in-the-air song, something that makes best friends hug each other and sway in a tipsy and emotional manner. This is something You Me At Six usually do really well, but this time around it’s just soppy and a bit empty – it’s certainly no ‘Crash’.
The closer, ‘Give’, is perfect – which is not a word I use often. It’s frontman Josh Franceschi at his finest, mixing growling vocals with softer tones. This is the song’s power – it is both hefty and vulnerable, and that is You Me At Six at its core. The overall sound is new, for sure, but this is a band that has always known what it’s about, and – thankfully – aren’t leaving those roots behind.
(Image: Death Kiss Media)