REVIEW: ‘SUCKAPUNCH’, the highly anticipated new You Me At Six album has arrived
You Me At Six are an ever-changing band - you never know exactly what to expect from their next release, all you know is that it isn’t going to be like the last one.
‘SUCKAPUNCH’ proves this from the second it starts. There’s no sign of intimidation at the sight of a fresh page in the swaggering angst of ‘Nice To Me’ - in fact, they audibly laugh it off. Of course, with groovy riffs and Josh Franceschi’s powerful, gravelly vocals, it’s still distinctly You Me At Six. The band themselves have teased the heaviness of their third studio album, 'Sinners Never Sleep', returning, and with Franceschi belting out verses in almost screams, they do not disappoint.
Clearly, the future is on their mind - these songs are perfectly crafted to draw together a buzzing crowd that are ready to jump straight into the mosh-pit before the chorus even hits. ‘Beautiful Way’ showcases two things that You Me At Six have always done best: heartbreak and catchy choruses. Lyrically, this is in no way a happy song, but there’s something about the hook, “we’re f****d up in a beautiful way”, that makes you want to sing until your vocal chords give in.
Title track ‘SUCKAPUNCH’ could soundtrack the hero of a sci-fi movie striding into battle, guns blazing. It’s futuristic as Franceschi holds his head high and boasts “I rise from the wreckage that you left behind." Fiery and lustful for life, this is definitely a statement piece for the band and one I’m sure they’ll wear with pride in years to come. There’s a reason they named the album after it, that’s for sure.
Even in the laidback moments of the album, You Me At Six don’t lose their flicker of confidence. ‘WYDRN’ and ‘Kill The Mood’ are both cocky and collected, and honestly might be the underdogs (no pun intended) of the whole album.
As I said before, this is a band who do heartbreak exceptionally well. With the incandescence of the rest of the album, I was unsure whether anything sorrowful might extinguish the attitude. In fact, it did quite the opposite. ‘Glasgow’ is a gorgeous slow-burn about the growth it takes to move on. “I know I said time heals woes”, Josh references the band’s 2010 hit ‘Stay With Me', “but that was time ago”. There’s nothing greater than a callback in a song, and this one is emblematic of how much change You Me At Six have gone through in their career. From raw and gentle longing, the song blazes into an epic anguish as Franceschi’s vocals roar “we gotta stitch us back together / back together / now or never”.
Truthfully, ‘Glasgow’ would have been the perfect closing track for ‘SUCKAPUNCH’. It’s so monumental that they almost set the rest of the album up by not being to compete against themselves.
An electronic experiment released back in 2019, ‘What’s It Like’ was a great stand-alone single, but in no way deserving of wrapping up such a milestone in You Me At Six’s career (or, really, of being on the album at all).
Penultimate ‘Finish What I Started’ could have also been the perfect closing track. The war-cry of “it’s time to pick yourself back up” powers through the sparkling instrumentation like an anthem. Where the album began with an almost arrogance, ‘SUCKAPUNCH’ took a deep-dive into all the feelings behind the smirk and left ‘Finish What I Started’ with a hopeful confidence instead.
‘SUCKAPUNCH’ feels like everything You Me At Six have been aiming for these past few years, and it’s good to hear them back in their stride and making the music they want to be. If you’re new to the band, it’s as good of a place as any to start - and if you’re already a fan, You Me At Six have made it pretty clear that change can be a beautiful thing.