When acclaimed UK band You Me At Six released their debut album Take Off Your Colours in 2008, the young, burgeoning act was hotly tipped as one of UK’s brightest young hopes for pop-punk. Packed with infectious hooks and a youthful spirit, the album also caused their impending sophomore album to carry increased expectations. After all, Britain is famous for developing bands that explode onto the scene with scintillating debut records (see: Bloc Party, The Libertines, Oasis), only to have those same bands fade away just as quickly. Of course, that’s not always the case – especially in the case of the 3 bands listed – but the sophomore slump is duly noted for a reason as a cautionary tale that, despite a band’s best efforts, expectations will always be higher with success.
Of course, hindsight is 20/20. While the album isn’t necessarily quite on the level of their debut, Hold Me Down did go Gold in the UK. And calling it a disappointment isn’t really valid considering it’s a much matured effort, both musically as it’s more punchy, and vocally for Josh Franceschi as his voice was much improved as well. Early album cuts like opener “The Consequence” and “Safer To Hate Her” are packed with the same kind of catchy hooks that were evident on their debut, while later album songs like “Trophy Eyes” are polished with huge choruses and improved lyrics as well.
Ten years after its release, all things considered, Hold Me Down has to be considered a success. Commercially, it certainly was, but the album’s slight missteps (and major strengths) enabled the band to write arguably their best record with its follow-up, Sinners Never Sleep. Needless to say, it’s clear that You Me At Six had some real big plans, and such bad thoughts.