Review Summary: Take Off Your Colours is a solid if somewhat unremarkable debut album by a young band with big potential.
Surrey quintet You Me At Six have been causing quite a stir over the past 12 months, from supporting tour slots with metallers Bullet For My Valentine, to their own sell-out headline tours in the UK, without even releasing an album.
This is a band full of youthful enthusiasm and energy. Josh Franceschi (lead vocals) is still only 18 and the remaining four members are no older than 19 (Max Helyer - guitar & backing vocals, Chris Miller - guitar, Matt Barnes - bass and finally Dan Flint - drums and percussion). While the themes and topics on this full-length debut are all you'd expect of kids their age (girls, gossiping, and all the usual dramas of teenage life), I find Franceschi's lyrics sharp, cocky, and sarcastic, which in itself makes the record more absorbing as a whole.
As for the music, I have to applaud the band for the 'DIY' approach they've taken on the record in a day and age full of super slick, squeaky clean production. Whilst there are plenty of catchy hooks here, the guitars sound grittier and the bass lines thicker, honing a more meaty rock sound to compliment the pop sensibilities.
Things get going with the infectious opener, "The Truth Is A Terrible Thing." Meaty riffs, catchy melodies, and a sing-a-long chorus are all on the menu here, serving up an introduction to what you can expect on the majority this album. While third single, "Gossip" has enough '"woah's" to keep you going until next autumn.
"Jealous Minds Think Alike" is one of the strongest tracks on the album. It is not unlike the the previous three tracks in terms of style and structure, however, it contains a fantastic chorus and killer outro that make it a standout.
The second half of the album is more diverse that the first, starting with "You've Made Your Bed." This is a slowed down, self-aware, self-referential ode to an ex-girlfriend. It still contains a big chorus with some more "whoa's" thrown in for good measure.
'If You Run' is another favorite. It contains more of a heavy, layered guitar sound (a mellow post-hardcore track if you will) while still containing the band's trademark killer chorus. "Always Attract" is the first and only ballad that always seems to get thrown in on these type of records. But make no mistake, this is no filler track. It's a slow, acoustic number which eventually leads to some big sounding guitars to accompany the duel vocals of Franceschi and his sister, Elissa, who guest features on the track.
I do think though, that while thre is some great pop-punk tunes here, the album goes on slightly too long and contains filler towards the end.
But, by the time you reach the climax of the rousing closer, "The Rumour," you feel as though you've listened to a solid if somewhat unremarkable debut album by a young band. They certainly have huge potential, if lacking somewhat in originality. You get the impression that as they get older and mature as songwriters and musicians, the best is yet to come.
For some, you'll get the feeling you've heard this done before over and over. But ultimately, when the content is this addictive and enjoyable, why should it matter?