You Me at Six - Hold Me Down (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

You Me at Six

Hold Me Down (2010)


England's You Me at Six's name must be a reference to the estimated target audience of the band because I cannot fathom anyone over that age being remotely interested in their brand of forgettable, radio-ready pop-rock. But even then I feel a bit guilty, like I'm underestimating six-year-olds. Somehow their predictable compositions and questionable subject matter landed them a deal with major label Virgin Records in their native England for their sophomore LP, after 2008/2009's Epitaph-assisted debut Take Off Your Colours. Ultimately, on Hold Me Down the band sounds like they sat down for a few hours watching Taking Back Sunday and Matchbook Romance videos and decided they would make themselves a shilling or two by cranking out songs with a fraction of a talent of those bands.

Songs like the "The Consequence", and "Trophy Eyes" seem to be exclusively crafted for the choruses as the rest of the songs are so completely lackluster you wonder why the band bothered to tack on the other three or so minutes in the case of "The Consequence." "Underdog" is the most glaring example of a calculated single, unlike some of the other songs here, You Me at Six barely makes the effort to pad the verses with any fluff, moving straight into the chorus that is little more than seemingly random words strung together over a melody. The band is about as adventurous as a Sunday mass, but by the time the acoustic strumming and "ba-ba-ba" harmonies of "Liquid Confidence" (FYI: the expression is "liquid courage") roll around you will think it is the second coming because something finally breaks the monotony of this record. The one other song that appears to wrestle the album out of the clutches of wearisome repetition is "Playing the Blame Game," which utilizes a great bassline, sparse clean guitar leads and snaps reminiscent of classic '80s new wave. Even here, however, the band can't help themselves by burying any of those positive attributes under layers of useless strings and crunching guitars.

What ends up being worse than a few nonsensical lyrics is when you can clearly see the band's glaring sexism on "Safer to Hate Her." I'm not sure I could make up such a ridiculous title myself, but the lyrics go further to develop the ridiculously one-sided "woman hurt me and therefore her only worth to me no longer applies so I shall dismiss her into nothing and I won‘t even try otherwise" approach that so many pop-rock and nü-emo bands have sadly taken. Check out these nuggets: "It'd be safer to hate her, than love her and lose her / It'd be safer to hate her all around." What is worse is this horrible message is also combined with one of the album's few memorable hooks; way to indoctrinate the kids into your trite worldview, guys. ü Hold Me Down serves as a good example of what major label rock music can be at its worst: late trend-hopping, neutered aggression, uninspired ballads and morally corrupt concepts. If you don't like this music, You Me at Six will not change your mind, and if you do, chances are you've heard it done in much, much better fashion. Pass on this.