You Me At Six’s sixth album, VI, is a pretty good record, but not as good as the old ones. That about sums it up.
The band is continuing their shift away from pop-punk in favour of a cooler, but more generic, indie rock. This is best emphasised on the heavy opening track ‘Fast Forward,’ which is also the best song on the record- though that isn’t saying much. Indeed, any fans of records like 2010’s Hold Me Down, (which is way better than this one, by the way), might be surprised to compare the two and find just how different they truly are.
The record never treads the same ground twice, and I can at least confidently say that the singles, ‘Back Again’ and ‘3AM’ in particular, are by and large the most uninteresting, pointless songs on the album. The rest of it, though plainly derivative, is much more enjoyable by comparison, with each song finding its own distinct voice. One example is ‘Predictable,’ which is an accurate title, and the aforementioned ‘Fast Forward’ which could pass for a Nothing But Thieves song.
‘Pray For Me’ and ‘Miracle in the Mourning’ are probably the most interesting songs, but they do represent a sort of middle-of-the-road for the album, quality-wise. That being said, though not as boring as tracks like ‘3AM’ or ‘Losing You,’ even at their most creative these tracks still feel like indie by-the-numbers, and it’s somewhat disheartening to think that a band that has always seemed on the cusp of greatness is straying further and further away from that image as time goes on.
It’s a middle-of-the-road sort of indie rock album. No one who hears the album will reasonably call it a bad record, but it represents a point of decline for the band, and one which clearly enjoys taking ideas from its contemporaries while adding nothing new whatsoever.