It’s hard to come at 2021 with the same outlook that would have been in place just twelve months ago. Optimism replaced with frustration, happy thoughts swapped in for despair, vitriol and anger. Even the best of us - those with the sunniest of dispositions - have felt the pressure of nearly a year of lockdowns, restricted lives and missed opportunity. It changes us.
Why such a doom-laden scene-setting? Well, You Me At Six have changed too. It’s fair to say that over their last few albums, a band who once sat at the front of a UK pop-rock invasion shifted progressively more towards the mainstream. Often drifting away from their roots, individual perspectives will dictate on if that was moved as smart evolution or a watering down of what made them great. One thing that isn’t up for debate - their latest full-length is a record with teeth.
From the opening gut-punch of ‘Nice To Me’, there’s no mistaking You Me At Six for MOR unit shifters. Nor does this feel like a band not taking risks. Yelping in a way reminiscent of math-rock titans Foals, it’s a wild turn left on the wheel, glued tight to a chorus that sings loud and direct. Title-track ‘Suckapunch’ throbs with the lost energy of now empty clubs, all strobing lasers and pulsing potential, while closer ‘What It’s Like’ finds fertile ground in modern, front-foot focused industrial alt-pop.
Times may be hard, but with enough pressure, the odd diamond might be formed. This time around, You Me At Six shine bright.