Written by Carmen Mueller
This fall, You Me At Six released their sixth full length album, appropriately titled VI. This was my first time listening to the band, so I was ready to give the project a listen without any expectations. Some of the highest points of this album are found in the music styles and Josh Franceschi’s knockout vocals, but there is something for everyone on this project.
The first track “Fast Forward” has one of the most interesting musical styles on the whole project. I can understand why this was released as one of the first singles; its Florence-and-the-Machine-turned-English-rock makes for a really strong guitar driven anthem about wanting to burn away the past and move on. “Straight to My Head” is a quick building rock ballad that makes for a great love song that you can also jam out to. Dan Flint on the drums drives the song the whole way through while Chris Miller and Max Helyer really take control of the bridge with the guitar breakdown. One of the most pop songs that is on this project is “Back Again”. The bass heavy track led by Matt Barnes gives it a very danceable feel which pairs well with the very triumphant lyrics that makes up the story of the song. Feelings of “I’m back again” and “Dark days shape us into who we really are”, gives us something to root for.
“Miracle in the Mourning” is a far more brooding track with its electronic elements and heavy drums. It’s a song about perseverance and the need to prove oneself. Franceschi’s performance really stands out on this track amidst the toned down yet still really powerful instrumentals. The second single to have been released on this project “3AM” is one of the band’s best examples of lyrical storytelling. Everything seems foreign, except for the inevitable 3AM call from a lover. Its synth-heavy production and powerful drums makes it equally modern and old school.
“I O U” is one of my favorite tracks because it really showcases the range of this band. The song is one of the slowest, but it offers so much, thanks to its bass riff and streamlined production which sounds like something of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It’s a cat and mouse love affair type of song that, to me is one of the most fun on this album. I’m surprised The Weeknd did not produce this track; “Pray for Me” has a darker essence to it which makes it super moody. The lyrics beg of someone in need of help and care. It mixes perfectly with Franceschi’s smooth vocals and the steady guitar on the track. Once again, Barnes’ bass are a standout on “Predictable” as he is a driving force behind the simple drumming. Franceschi’s plays with the rhythm change on the bridges which helps this song stick out! It’s one of the most relaxed musically while being quite aggressive and menacing in its lyrics. After all the deep and brooding tracks comes “Danger”. Despite its title, the song is pretty danceable and reminds me of Rob Thomas’s “This Is How a Heart Breaks”; there is feeling of urgency from the guitars and drums while still remaining a very danceable track. The danger in this song is the risk that comes from trying to love someone who may be cold and closed off, and even so, the track still has an upbeat positive vibe. The last song “Losing You” closes the album with a very sweet message. Franceschi sings about wanting to reconcile a relationship and start again. The vocal manipulations and synth on this album add an interesting element to a very chill song; the guitars and drums are steady and smooth which pairs beautifully with the theme of the track.
Overall, I found that after my first listen of the album, a few songs stuck out: “Fast Forward”, “I O U”, and “Pray For Me” were some of my early favorites. But with repeated listens, I found myself enjoying the whole album more and more. There is a lot to love on this project; from its great vocal performances, the fun musical styles, and impressive instrumentation, the album had a lot to work with. Also, with it being quite a short album, it is easy to listen to over and over. I continuously find myself being more impressed after every listen, and I can only see it grow fonder with time. This album was a surprising standout for me, and I look forward to what the band has instore in the future!