You Me at Six - Hold Me Down
Release Date: March 16, 2010
Record Label: Virgin
If the scene were a shower drain, it'd certainly need weekly fixes of Drano to unclog the pipes for every pop-rock band that shuffles their way into the mix. Not to mention the massive amount of hair buildup that would gather at the bottom (is that a dead badger or Jac Vanek's wig?). You Me at Six are one of the few international acts to spring up over the past couple years, presenting a familiar touch of gravitas with a shiny, well-constructed offering to satisfy the masses who flock to street team signups like police sirens to Lil'Wayne's hot tub.
Hold Me Down is the band's by-the-numbers follow-up to 2008's Take Off Your Colours, which in itself was no spectacular achievement. Basic pop chords over a flurry of orchestrated production lead to big results in their homeland (England), and eventually scored them a major-label deal with Virgin. The songs are still as trite as before, albeit a little heavier, a bit splashier... but lack the charm of their debut. You see, You Me at Six are beginning to nudge their way into an overcrowded market and it's becoming a chore to tell all these acts apart. The thematic material is all steam but no lust, the hooks are run-of-the-mill and by the time it hits its climax, it's generic centerpiece feels unfulfilled. "The Consequence" strives to be a landmark opener but staggers in its middle-school wordplay. "Underdog" triumphs as a serious potential hit, and while "Liquid Confidence" might be a tad overzealous and downright demeaning ("If one can drink can make tonight slip your mind, then you should drink up so you can convince yourself that I'm cute"), vocalist Josh Franceschi maneuvers the melody enough to give it some life. "Safe To Hate Her" and "Contagious Chemistry," however, play it safe by being banal, tiresome cliches of previous tracks. Awkward sexuality lurks its way into vague lyrics ("This love is dirtier than you think"), and upon several occasions, the content is so unapologetically vague, you feel as if not even Franceschi knows exactly what he's talking about ("When we die, do we feel alive" is randomly placed into a song about forcing one's self to stay out of love with a girl one is fearful of losing).
Part of the problem is the songs blend together. None of the other band members, save for Franceschi, get the chance to prevail on their own and make themselves heard. Like many of their peers, what the demographic is looking for are lyrics to post on Twitter, not musical interludes or artistic experimentation to feel inspired by. You get exactly what you expect, and that's ultimately the tragic flaw in Hold Me Down: every piece of the puzzle is largely making up the same picture. Once you realize it's a painting of an ordinary blue sky, you simply want to get up and find something that challenges you. You Me at Six do have the means necessary to shake up this current crop: they have the melodies, the talent... it just needs to be leveled off and given some breathing room. For a band that postures enough beacons of hope, it's frustrating to find out they can't even muster up the courage to be let up when they're obviously remaining held down.
04/10/10 08:53 PM
I like their debut and I heard this is supposed to be even better. Yeah, the lyrics aren't the best in the world, but I still like them :shrug:
04/10/10 10:24 PM
Good review, Chris. I actually love this album though, sure it's generic and all but I just find it to be a great pop rock record. What did you think of the song There's No Such Thing as Accidental Infidelity? Definitely my favorite track.
04/10/10 10:47 PM
I agree with the score and the points you made. These guys are definitely just another generic pop-punk band.
04/10/10 11:34 PM
Couldn't disagree more in this instance.
I've always loved Josh's lyrics because I feel like he writes about whatever the hell he wants. I never get the feeling that he's trying to hard.
I don't know how you can't mention fireworks (although I do see you put it in the choice cuts). That song just blew me away. The last minute is unbelievable.
Although none of the songs touch the strength of Tigers and Sharks, and the epic Always Attract.
Good review, I just disagree.
04/11/10 03:09 AM
Nothing groundbreaking, but I really dig this record. I have probably spun this disc about 20 times, and I'm still not tired of it. I'm a sucker for catchy music, even if the lyrical content is pretty weak.
04/11/10 04:01 AM
I've never heard alot from this band not counting some songs off their old material. Not really a fan.
04/11/10 04:37 AM
Thanks alot Chris, I have been saying this hasnt been all that great for a while and people strongly disagreed with me.At least someone agrees with be thats its very medicore.
04/11/10 04:39 AM
Exactly how I feel about this release and band. I enjoy some songs on Hold Me Down but none of the new album stuck with me.
04/11/10 05:06 AM
Shit band that's only big because of their singer's hair. Sucks that shit like this gets big in the UK but bands like Deaf Havana and Reuben struggle(d) to make any money whatsoever.
04/11/10 05:22 AM
they're still some pretty good tracks on the record...
04/11/10 05:22 AM
I disagree so much. I love this album. The only thing is that I think it's a bit overproduced. But I've had the cd for some time (since it came out in UK) and listen to it atleast 3 times a week. Am I getting tired of it? No, I won't ever.
(And no, I don't dig them because of Joshs hair. I don't give a damn about it.)
04/11/10 05:29 AM
This is a really great review.
04/11/10 06:10 AM
I disagree with just about everything in this review but how could you say nobody else prevails? Matt Barnes is brilliant on bass.
04/11/10 06:46 AM
I wrote a more positive review if anyone is interested.