After the success of Take Off Your Colours, charting in at #25 on the UK album chart, which I wasn’t expecting in all honesty, You Me At Six had acquired a huge fan base. With multiple EP’s, festivals and tours, including a main support slot on Paramore‘s UK tour, Josh Franceschi and the boys were letting the world know their names. After signing to a major record label, releasing their debut album and touring the world, You Me At Six must have felt like their dreams had come true, but the ultimate hurdle was coming up fast. Could they create the success, the hype and the quality for their sophomore album? Hold Me Down was released January 11th 2010, and was commercially welcome at a more than respectable #5 on the UK chart.

The Consequence kicks off the album, with a little help from Sean Smith of The Blackout. It was released as a promotional single before the album’s release. Immediately, you can tell that Franceschi’s voice has matured. I’m not sure in what way, but it has a more raspy sound to it, compared to the clean-cut songs from most of the previous album. I welcome the screams towards the end of the song, as I think it improves the song, but I can’t say I’m blown away at the start to the album. Following is a song that I can’t quite make my mind up about. Right now, for me, Underdog is a great song filled with catchy choruses and changes in the arrangement throughout, and considering it’s only two and half minutes long, it does extremely well varying up the different elements in the song. Playing The Blame Game, in my opinion, should have been their second single. It has everything there to make it on the radio. A killer chorus, great elements throughout the verses, including a much better falsetto range compared to the falsetto Franceschi used in The Consequence. Now for my favourite song, Stay With Me. This song’s drum beat makes the sound for me, if you can understand what I mean. It adds an extra something which I can’t quite describe. It starts off relatively slowly, soaring into a 6 word chorus, but keeping you captivated throughout. Josh’s long-held notes are simple but extremely effective. Safer To Hate Her, for me, is a little forgettable. Franceschi’s vocals feel a little strained in the higher notes in the chorus. On the plus side, I really enjoy the guitars throughout. Take Your Breath Away leaves me a little baffled. The chorus is brilliant, everything about it is quality, but the lead guitar riff throughout the verses seem to clash, or overpower the vocals of the song. I don’t really enjoy the riff, so it spoils the verses for me. However, I like that they had a silence before bringing back in the guitar near the end of the song. It builded up an atmosphere. Onto the actual second single, Liquid Confidence, which I’m not sure was a good choice to release. The song itself is a decent song, no doubting that, but the softness in the beginning of a slower chorus, into a louder chorus doesn’t, for my ears, feel right for radio. Franceschi’s vocals are faultless throughout, through. Hard To Swallow doesn’t waste anytime firing out at pace, with a vengeance. The song just explodes into life from the get-go, and doesn’t dip in energy throughout. Definitely a highlight on the album. Contagious Chemistry follows up the quality on the album. I love the guitars in the verses. Such brilliance followed by a slow bridge into an energetic chorus. A song you just can’t fault. And when you thought that all good things come to an end, a third song in a row of pure brilliance, There’s No Such Thing As Accidental Infidelity. With added vocals from Aled Phillips from Kids In Glass Houses, it’s more of a slower song when it gets into the chorus. Similar to Stay With Me, in the fact that the lyrics are simple and effective even though there isn’t too many of them. Phillips kicks in with the harmonies towards the end of the song, which is truly brilliant. Can Trophy Eyes make it four? Well, it doesn’t quite follow-up to the quality of the previous three, BUT, the chorus is epic. It feels like one of those types of choruses, even though they’re not particularly ‘heavy’, it’s one you would be able to headbang to! Fireworks, for me, doesn’t get going until near the end, which is unfortunate. It’s a slow, love song, which will melt all the girls hearts. The chorus isn’t quite what I was expecting in the beginning. It seems unenthusiastic and it doesn’t feel like they actually want this girl back. Having said that, it could all just be build up to the moment when the vocals REALLY kick in. “I don’t know who you are” in the upper register is just one of those moments that kind of gives you goosebumps. It’s that good. Is it worth waiting for throughout the song, probably. But only just. I wish it had this much feeling all throughout. Finally, the bonus track from iTunes, My Head’s A Prison And Nobody Visits. I think they probably got it right, making this a bonus track, in my opinion. The song doesn’t jump out at you and announce its presence. It has some good moments, including a long note, rising in pitch nearer the end. Fireworks, for me, is the real end to the album.

As I said before, I truly was not expecting Hold Me Down to chart so high, and that just goes to show how far these guys have come. And how far they’re going to go. Because I have no doubts that they’ll go on to release another quality album after this. Until then, feast your ears on this while these guys tour the world and rack up the fans and sales to match what they deserve. 8.5/10

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