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Rating: 1.5 of 5 stars
Cavalier Youth is the fourth full length record from English alternative rock band You Me at Six. The album was released on 26 January 2014 through Virgin Records in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. The first and lead single, “Lived a Lie” was released on 2 September 2013. The track also featured in the football video game FIFA 14. This was followed up by the second single, “Fresh Start Fever,” which was released with a music video on 3 December 2013. The album debuted on the UK album chart at number 1.
It bums me out that my first music review on Caps Lock Thinks is anything less than a raving 5-star one, but alas here we are. 1.5 stars for Cavalier Youth. :\
It’s a little painful for me to review a You Me at Six album with so few stars because the history I share with them is a fond one. They first surprised me early last year when I finally listened to their 2010 album, Hold Me Down. I was instantly charmed by their overall adorable lyrics and danceable instrumentation. Shortly after I finally gave them my ear, they released Sinners Never Sleep (2011), which was another commendable effort on their part. It more or less took all the best songs and styles and lyrics of Hold Me Down (2010) and gave them new form, reinvented life. I was in love.
I expected to love Cavalier Youth the same, of course, but for some reason, when I saw the cover, I had a gut feeling that I wouldn’t be as in love with it as I had been with Hold Me Down and Sinners Never Sleep. And in that regard I hadn’t psyched myself out. I genuinely don’t love Cavalier Youth.
The first track, “Too Young to Feel This Old,” sets the straightforward, pop-punk tone of the entire album. Honestly, when I listen through, all the songs tend to blend together into one big, long, soft-noted amalgam. There is little variation in tone, length or style – with the exception of bonus track “Champagne Wishes,” which lends a more stylistically post-hardcore groove to the album a la Sinners Never Sleep, however I think considering it’s the last track on the record, it’s way too little, way too late. By the time it’s caught my ear, I’m surprised to realize the record’s over already and I in fact haven’t been listening to the same song for ~40 minutes.
Standout tracks? Between songs 1 and 5 are “Lived a Lie,” “Fresh Start Fever” and “Forgive and Forget,” and they all manage to distinguish themselves from the endless train of similarities thereafter, even if it is only a little bit. Funny how “Lived a Lie” and “Fresh Start Fever” were chosen as singles, huh? Another standout track is “Be Who You are,” but only because it resembles Sinners Never Sleep‘s closeout song “When We were Younger” with its acoustic Unplugged vibe.
Other than that, I can’t say I’m too excited about it. Although You Me at Six’s previous two records will always hold a special place in my heart, Cavalier Youth is simply missing whatever made them shine. Everything is in position to make the record great – vocals, instrumentation, lyrics, everything – but somehow it never takes off the way I’d hoped for. Can’t say I’ll be listening to this one too much, unfortunately. But, hey, at least I can always go back to Sinners Never Sleep and Hold Me Down.