For You Me At Six, it’s been a stream of upward momentum since the release of first LP Take Off Your Colours back in 2008. The British pop-rockers are currently preparing to release fourth studio album, Cavalier Youth – the record with which the quintet, according to frontman Josh Franceschi, have defined a clear identity almost a decade after forming.
“We’re very proud of what we’ve done,” says Franceschi, fresh from an extensive European tour with the Jared Leto-led Thirty Seconds To Mars. “We’ve taken a step up, and as a band I think we’ve finally found our sound. We’re the band we were meant to be.”
Listening to Cavalier Youth, it’s a statement that rings true. Fully realised and delivered with youthful exuberance and mature confidence in equal measure, it’s a vivid sonic portrait of a band that has stepped firmly into its own skin. “It was important for us this time around to make an album that had a more cohesive sound,” Franceschi says.
He’s the first to admit that figuring out the sort of band he and his comrades wanted to be hasn’t been a straightforward enterprise. Previous album Sinners Never Sleep, though lauded by critics and fans alike, featured a mixed bag of styles, with vitriolic post-hardcore (‘Bite My Tongue’) haphazardly juxtaposed with fragile balladry (‘Crash’). “If you were a new listener, it’d be quite confusing. I think we really tried on this record to make an album that throughout sounded like one band, while still allowing that room for creativity”.
Lyrically, one immediately gets the impression Franceschi is in a far better place on Cavalier Youth than he was on Sinners. “One thing I knew I wasn’t going to write about was a relationship gone wrong. I’m in a happy and healthy one now, so I couldn’t really write about that. I took inspiration from a lot of things. One thing I wanted to write about was how I feel different now as a 22-year-old man to how I did when I was 17, 18, making music for the first time. My world’s gotten both a lot smaller and a lot bigger. It’s a strange time, your mid-20s. Your friendship groups get smaller, the world just sort of changes for everybody.”
Before You Me At Six release Cavalier Youth, they’ll be hitting Australian stages on a triple bill headed by pop-punk juggernauts Paramore and rounded out by indie-pop duo Twenty One Pilots. It’ll be Franceschi and his group’s fourth time in the country since their debut appearances Down Under back in 2010 as part of Soundwave. “There’s something different about Australian crowds. Maybe it’s all the sun that gets on everyone’s heads,” laughs Franceschi. “Everyone just always seems so pumped and eager about music. It’s hard not to love coming and playing shows in a country where everyone is just as passionate about music as we are.”
On ‘Lived A Lie’, the lead single from Cavalier Youth, Franceschi and co. anthemically chant the line “We are believers”. An earnest and to-the-point declaration, it wholly encapsulates the spirit that resonates throughout the album – optimistic, self-assured and defiant. When asked whether the shift into a more positive direction is representative of where You Me At Six are at as a band, Franceschi responds without hesitation.
“Absolutely. It’s the strongest we’ve ever been.”
BY BLAKE GALLAGHER