Thursday, 24 September 2015

Throwback Thursday - You Me At Six - Take Off Your Colours

24th September 2015

For this week's Throwback Thursday review, we are going back to October 2008. I was young and still at college, and You Me at Six had just released their debut album Take Off Your Colours. I remember being at a huge house party in Caversham Heights, Reading, and someone claiming that some of the band members had rocked up to join the party, and I had though "wow, that's pretty cool, think I've got tickets to their Oxford show in a few weeks" but had made no effort to see if this claim was fact or fiction, not knowing how huge You Me at Six would later go on to become, all because of this album. With regards to the Oxford show, I couldn't tell you now who supported, but I do remember You Me at Six absolutely killing their set, with the crowd singing along to every song despite Take Off Your Colours only being out for a few weeks. However, if other towns were like the one I went to college in, in October 2008 this was the only record anybody was listening too.

Take Off Your Colours opens up with the fantastic 'The Truth is a Terrible Thing' which held lyrics everyone had scrawled across Facebook and MySpace (yep, that was still going strong back then). The guitar intro alone is enough to draw you in and get you hooked on every verse, with the ending setting the scene nicely for the second track 'Gossip', and for the rest of the album, with front man Josh Franceschi singing the song title over a heavy drum and guitar line.

We are going to skip ahead a few songs now to track four 'Jealous Minds Think Alike.' Opening up heavier than most of the other songs, everyone in college seemed to claim this to be their favourite song, and the chorus started to feature on several people's arms in the forms of tattoos. It also seemed to be played at every house party in every town, and I would be lying if i said I didn't sneak over to the speakers to put it on on more than one occassion!

Now I am not saying 'Save It For The Bedroom' isn't a good song, it really is an excellent track which had everything you would want in it, but it felt that every, and I mean EVERY, pop-punk band starting up in the Reading area were doing cover versions. Fair enough, some were extremely good, but most of the time it was a dreadful experience watching people trying to hit notes as Josh does on this song. Every other weekend it was being played in Reading's Face Bar, and, sadly, this lead to the song being ruined for me and many others at the time. Thankfully though, time heals all wounds, and I can happily feel the joy this song brought the first time I heard it.

"If it hurts this much, then it must be love" opens up the beautifully acoustic track 'Always Attract' which fast became  the anthem for every relationship facing difficulties, as well as for all the people who were recently single. It also has guest vocals from Josh's sister Elissa Franceschi, who's voice is simply amazing, and the sibling duet gives this album a track that tugs on the heartstrings.

Take Off Your Colours comes to a close with 'The Rumour,' one of the greatest songs You Me At Six have made to date. The ending to the song kicks in around the two minute forty mark, about half way through the song itself, and it still gives me shivers, with its build up from soft and calm, to full on power. Words don't do this song any justice, but, simply put, you will not be able to listen to it just the one time. It's a song that needs to be put on repeat a few times before going back to the start of the album and repeating the process again.

It is amazing how far You Me At Six have come in the seven years since Take Off Your Colours was released, from small venues on the release tour, to now playing sold out shows at Wembley. They have since released three more studio albums, equally as good as each other, but there hasn't been many albums around from any band that can still give me goosebumps seven years on like Take Off Your Colours does.
Tracks to check out:
- "Jealous Minds Think Alike"
- "Take Off Your Colours"
- "You've Made Your Bed (So Sleep In It)"
- "The Rumour"

Sam Muckley 

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