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You Me at Six - SUCKAPUNCH (Album Review)

Thursday, 28 January 2021 Written by Milly McMahon

Photo: Daniel Harris

The charts are always welcoming to a rousing, anthemic banger, and You Me at Six know that all too well. The Surrey quartet's seventh LP ‘SUCKAPUNCH’ is a charged and provocative album perfectly suited to achieving that goal.

The album's content plays to rising frustrations precipitated by COVID lockdown after COVID lockdown, and the standout title track channels a tumultuous aesthetic perfect for escapism.

Opening with Nice To Me, the band set the bar high. Spidery guitar lines and insistent beats give way to Josh Franceschi’s screaming vocals, building with angst and roaring with intent. 

Following that marker with the chaotic MAKEMEFEELALIVE, the band attempt to step their thrashing sound up a level and the culmination of raucous vocals and guitar chaos is overwhelming. It's genuinely painful to endure. Wisely, Beautiful Away dips the energy back down to a more low key, emotional vibe and this is You Me at Six at their best, combining a thoughtful pace with stirring lyrics.

There’s an argument to be made that ‘SUCKAPUNCH’ contains some of You Me at Six’s finest material to date, yet from here on it’s hamstrung by sequencing that feels messy and convoluted. The decision to let the title track’s momentum dissipate with the more introverted Kill The Mood rather kills the mood.

But the closing moments of Glasgow communicate the power behind the complex chorus of guitar, drums and vocals. Place this band on a stage armed with ‘SUCKAPUNCH’ when festivals resume, benefiting from the energy and interaction of crowds, and they will explode into life again. Some of the essence of You Me at Six’s music is lost through headphones, but their capacity for showmanship is undimmed.

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