Although 2020 was a horrible year for most, it was a surprisingly good year for rock and metal music. Biffy Clyro achieved their third UK number one album with ‘A Celebration of Endings’, System of a Down and Deftones finally released new music, and Machine Gun Kelly’s pop punk album, ‘Tickets To My Downfall’, reached number one in the billboard charts. As we wave good riddance to 2020 and look toward the year ahead, I am overwhelmed with the sheer number of artists planning a new album release for 2021. With bands such as Architects, The Pretty Reckless and The Foo Fighters releasing albums early, it is however, You Me At Six who kick off the year for me with their seventh album, ‘Suckapunch’.
Wasting absolutely no time at all, the boys from Surrey start with a bang in the form of catchy pop punk anthem ‘Nice To Me’. Leaning more towards the punk rather than the pop, ‘Nice To Me’ is followed by one of the albums best songs, ‘MAKEMEFEELALIVE’. With growling guitars and chanting lyrics sung by frontman Josh Franceschi, ‘MAKEMEFEELALIVE’ channels similar punk energy to The 1975’s ‘People’, so if you love that song or catchy punk anthems in general, you’re in for a treat.
You Me At Six keep the energy up for the third track, ‘Beautiful Way’, which brings the band back towards their familiar pop punk sound but with a more modern snare. The band continues to evolve their sound with their fourth track, ‘WYDRN’, short for What You’re Doing Right Now, as well as with their album titled track ‘Suckapunch’ which channels the same alternative club anthem vibe as Bring Me The Horizon’s ‘Nihilist Blues’. These songs prove that You Me At Six can stay true to themselves whilst remaining relevant and progressing as a band.
The album begins to slow down with its aptly named track, ‘Kill The Mood’, which although isn’t anywhere as good as the five songs previous, still works as an effective stomp clap song that eases us nicely into the albums slowest song and only ballad. ‘Glasgow’ is nice little ballad to sway along to until it erupts into a heavy chant of a finale. This leads rather well into ‘Adrenaline’, which feels like You Me At Six’s attempt at an Imagine Dragons song, that will have fans of both adding this to their 2021 playlists.
At this point ‘Suckapunch’ has been a really strong album, so it is unfortunate that it doesn’t end on the same bang that it begins on. ‘Voicenotes’ follows on from ‘Adrenaline’ and, although a good song, it lacks anything remarkable to make it more than just an album filler track. The penultimate track, ‘Finish What I Started’, follows and although it has a fittingly conclusive feel to it, I can’t help but feel I’ve heard something similar and better earlier on this album. The album draws to a close with its final track, ‘What’s It Like?’, a step up from the last two tracks with its hypnotic snake charmer melody, but ultimately not reaching the same highs as the earlier tracks on the album.
Overall, ‘Suckapunch’ starts the 2021 rock music scene on a high, marking You Me At Six’s best album since 2011’s ‘Sinners Never Sleep’. The album finds You Me At Six at their most versatile as they oscillate between pop punk, punk and alternative club anthems. Sure, the album ends on a weaker note than it begins on, but thanks to some new hits like ‘MAKEMEFEELALIVE’, ‘Adrenaline’ and ‘Suckapunch’, You Me At Six’s seventh album is their best in almost a decade and a strong contender for their best album to date.
Suckapunch is OUT NOW and You Me At Six tour the UK on the dates above (COVID permitting)