YOU ME AT Six’s fifth studio album comes almost ten years since their debut, Take off your Colours. While they have never been trail-blazers (The Guardian’s four-line review of said debut described them as ‘the UK’s answer to Fall-Out Boy’), they at least felt fresh. Maybe not leading the race, but in the middle of the pack.
Their latest album feels like the beginning of a downward bend for the group. It is being advertised with the ‘new direction’ shtick that often gets pulled out for established artists who’ve struck a crossroads and, all credit to You Me At Six, it is a fair few steps away from their pop-punk roots. To call it a ‘new direction’, however, seems too decided and certain. For Night People comes across more as ten exercises in copying the latest rock and pop trends taped together into one semi-cohesive record, never quite sure where to land itself.
The influences can be easily traced. The riffs ooze Royal Blood, the melodies stink of Catfish and the Bottlemen, the lyrics echo the kind of millennial, live-or-die attitude that has become a stable of the modern pop chart. It’s not that they do any of it badly, or even that the imitations are cheap and obvious. Everything done on the album is done well, but they’ve also been done before. You Me At Six deserve credit for attempting to adapt to a new era but they’ve lost all semblance of individuality in the process. Put simply, there may be nothing wrong with their latest studio effort, but there’s also nothing special.