Review : You Me At Six - Hold Me Down
SputnikmusicConsidering the universal popularity of pop-punk, it continues to amaze just how limited its production is confined to North America. In a genre that has arguably become a little stale, one would think that a fresher perspective would not only be a strength, but one which fans would welcome. The most likely band to take advantage of such an opportunity appeared to be English quintet You Me At Six, whose 2008 debut LP ‘Take Off Your Colours’ displayed maturity and potential beyond their teenage years, and had many looking forward with hopeful expectations to the group’s follow-up.
Unfortunately, it cannot be said that You Me At Six have fully capitalized on the opportunity presented to them on ‘Hold Me Down’, as the diversity and ambitious song structure evident on the second half of their debut is rarely seen here. Instead of concentrating on the songs themselves, it appears that they have looked to beef up their sound. Josh Franceschi’s vocals have clearly improved from the occasionally whiney attributes of his past, while the music on show has a much fuller sound. Unfortunately, all these improvements result in is a more generic Americanized feel that even verges on mainstream rock at times.
‘Hold Me Down’ is far from a total write-off however, since it actually begins and ends well. ‘The Consequence’ is an energetic rapid-fire opener complete with a gang vocal outro that is assisted by The Blackout’s Sean Smith. Lead single ‘Underdog’, ‘Playing the Blame Game’, ‘Contagious Chemistry’, ‘There’s No Such Thing as Accidental Infidelity’ and ‘Trophy Eyes’ are all catchy, carefree pop-punk cuts that overcome some dodgy lyrics, while ‘Fireworks’ presents an above-average soaring ballad to close the album well. The problem lies in the mid-section of ‘Hold Me Down’, which is littered with unmemorable (if competent) tracks that do not significantly distinguish themselves from any number of other bands in the genre. Why the band used stand-alone singles ‘Finders Keepers’ and ‘Kiss and Tell’ on the deluxe edition of their debut (released in mid-2009) instead of holding them back for this album boggles the mind....full text
GuardianBusted brought punk-pop into the tweenage mainstream in 2002. And yet the advent of a younger audience has done little to blunt the evergreen appeal of the genre to teenagers with a surfeit of energy. Ambitious pogo-poppers You Me At Six hail from Surrey, but could come from Any Burb, USA, so completely have they internalised the conformist protocols of chugging riffs, chanted choruses and being too well-adjusted for the emo label. Polished, punchy Hold Me Down is their second album, replete with bouncy dramas about loyalty, betrayal and other perils of young love. Its sole insight is contained in the song title "There's No Such Thing As Accidental Infidelity"; not even the most fine-meshed musical sieve could unearth any originality here....full text
TheskinnyTo underestimate angst rock is a dangerous practice. To those who have escaped adolescence in one piece, the aimless yelping of the latest mosh-by-numbers emo band can be downright grating. But, for the those still caught up in the personal hell of acne and first crushes, it offers a lucrative shoulder to cry on, as Twlight creator Stephenie Meyer would surely point out. You Me At Six are a case in point; any of the dozen tracks of Hold Me Down, despite being flawlessly executed, could just as easily have been knocked out by teen-adored Hoobastank or Taking Back Sunday. That being said, this kind of music has a rabid audience, and tracks like Trophy Eyes will no doubt prove an anthem for many a floppy-fringed teen. If they’d only been a few years older, though, they would have The Arctic Monkeys to idolise... you can’t help feeling these kids have been short-changed. [Joe Barton]...full text
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