The Harbinger Online

Album Review: Cavalier Youth

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 4.30.05 PMIf I’m being honest, I wasn’t hugely enthused by the prospect of listening to You Me At Six’s new album, “Cavalier Youth”, on repeat for two days while I wrote this review. I’d listened to them before on a friend’s recommendation, but hadn’t really been all that interested. But I was pleasantly surprised to find how much I thoroughly enjoyed this album, and it has inspired me to give You Me At Six another chance.

“Cavalier Youth” was leaked online on Jan. 21, and was officially released on Jan. 28. Throughout the album You Me At Six maintain the theme of growing up and the nostalgia of looking back on youth, but still manage to make all the songs individual.

You Me at Six are a rock band from a town in Surrey, England. They got together in 2004, and became famous in Britain in 2008 when they released their first album “Take Off Your Colours”. Their debut album included the single “Finders Keepers,” which made the UK Top 40.

The band is often compared to All Time Low and Panic! at the Disco, but with this album in mind I would definitely draw similarities between them and Bastille, the London electronic rock band that became well-known in the US last year.

The band started work on the album in June last year, recording in L.A. with producer Neal Avron, who also works with Fall Out Boy and Linkin Park. The first single of the album “Lived A Lie” premiered in Sept.

The opening track, “Too Young To Feel This Old”, has a really catchy chorus and just makes me want to get up and dance, as does “Lived A Lie”. I loved the overly dramatic feel of “Fresh Start Fever”, though I can’t help but be reminded of Zac Efron’s “Bet On It” from “High School Musical 2”.

“Win Some, Lose Some” is a nice angry song and I appreciated the “Hunger Games” reference in the second verse, even if it did seem kind of irrelevant to the lyrics. “Room To Breathe” has kind of boring verses, but the killer chorus definitely makes up for it.

What I feel this album is lacking is a strong ballad. The closest it comes is with “Cold Night” and “Wild Ones”, both of which are much slower than the others. “Wild Ones” is one of my favorite tracks of the album: emotional but somehow empowering, it makes me feel like I should running along a beach.

The most refreshing song of the album is without a doubt “Be Who You Are”, which consists of less than two minutes of lead singer Josh Franceschi warbling along to an acoustic guitar. Despite the solid backing drums, this song is cute and romantic, almost folky and completely different from anything else on the CD.

I personally can’t wait until You Me at Six’s next US tour, as I feel like this album would be awesome in concert. The UK music magazine, NME, predicts that this album is going to be the band’s first number one, but I suspect that despite its merits, “Cavalier Youth” will get forgotten in the flurry of English pop/rock bands that are so popular at the moment.

Reviewers are getting down on You Me at Six for “Cavalier Youth”, saying they’re becoming too mainstream and just trying to cater to the masses. It’s true this album is more poppy and accessible than their older music, but I don’t think that’s a problem.

If you’re listening to You Me at Six for meaningful and thought-provoking lyrics then this album probably isn’t for you. But “Cavalier Youth” is a fun and funky collection, and if you’re looking for a soundtrack to cruise along to with your windows rolled down this summer, or something to dance to while you get ready to go out on a Saturday night, then I highly recommend it.

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Katharine Swindells

Senior Katharine Swindells is head online copy-editor of the Harbinger Online. She likes British politics, selfies, feminism, cute shoes and books. Read Full »

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