By Nick Erickson, Staff writer
When bands blend genres both seamlessly and proficiently, it’s not hard to see why they catch attention. When rock band You Me at Six mixed conventional indie guitar noodling, vengeful lyricism and guest vocals from a metal screamer in 2011, the band earned their way onto the Billboard charts and pushed millions of fans from different demographics in their direction. Now, after vanishing from the music scene’s radar these past few years, the rockers from Surrey have reemerged with their newest endeavor, “Night People.” Nine years since their praised debut album “Take Off Your Colours,” the five-piece band proves they still have some bite with their bark.
While the group has always had a knack for writing gritty rock music, they’ve also been able to create some infectious hooks. On “Night People,” arena-friendly choruses are plentiful and in the vein of larger names, including Fall Out Boy and other upcoming bands such as PVRIS. The record kicks into gear with the title track. Frontman Josh Franceschi utilizes his smooth croon to its full potential, and the band delivers three minutes of foot-stomping, guitar-wailing blues. “Looks a lot like heartache,” Franceschi sings over the airy verses of “Heavy Soul.” It’s not long before the track explodes into a pounding chorus full of bass drum and keyboard pads. Nashville producer Jacquire King, known for his work with Kings of Leon, really helps harness the southern twang that emerges both here and throughout the duration of th album.
“Swear” builds off of a swift, pounding snare introduction and shortly follows suit with a demanding bass line. Franceschi sings, “Who really wants to hear the sound that comes out of your mouth?”, while guitarists Max Helyer and Chris Miller provide an energetic backdrop, as well as lush harmonies as a complement. “Plus One” serves almost as a homage to the classic rock idols who inspire the band and comes equipped with ballsy, soaring solos. From the Snow Patrol vibes in the verses of ballad “Take on the World” to the melancholic, laidback strums and arpeggios of closer “Give,” the band creates a mesmerizing atmosphere of emotions. This is not to fail to mention the feeling of nostalgia. Whatever listeners may feel during this album’s duration, it’ll hit hard and bring back memories of simpler times from the past. Perhaps that was the band’s intention all along.
You Me at Six’s “Night People” holds its weight against the band’s past discography. The band has given the album its own unique personality, never “reinventing the wheel.” Layers of pop-rock guitars meet a soulful side of Franceschi’s voice, unlike anything heard before. Still, the band has proven their songwriting skills have improved with age. There’s something to be found for everyone here, given these 10 tracks full of authentic passion and top-notch, dynamic musicianship. Expect to see the quintet at a sold-out stadium across the States soon.