You Me At Six


One of the things that You Me At Six discovered whilst making  their blistering eighth album Truth Decay was that you don’t  really know where you’re going if you don’t know where you  came from. As the dust settled on the triumphant campaign for  2021’s Suckapunch, the band’s second UK Number One  album, Josh Franceschi (lead vocals), Max Helyer (guitar),  Chris Miller (guitar), Matt Barnes (bass) and Dan Flint (drums)  regrouped and discussed ideas for their next move. “We were  all very proud of the fact we’d tried lots of new things on  Suckapunch and there was a lot of bravery in making that,”  says Franceschi. “This time, we wanted to hone in on a  particular identity for the band, more so than we have in the  past. We had to look backwards to figure out where it was we  wanted to go.”  

The quintet have emerged with a record that both celebrates  and salutes a wildly successful career as one of British rock’s  biggest modern bands at the same time as plotting an  exhilarating way forward. “We are at our best when all five of us  are on the frontline, living it and breathing it, all five of us  swinging, putting their creativity into it,” says Franceschi.  “That’s what you get from Truth Decay.” 

As they combed through their back catalogue, they were drawn  to the era between 2010’s Hold Me Down and 2014’s Cavalier  Youth. It was a period in which the band got their initial  swagger, coming into their own with an arsenal of rattling punk pop singalongs. Combining that sense of exuberance with  everything they’ve learned since felt like the key. “We felt like  there was a clear identity to the band then, people knew who  we were and what we were about, and we wanted to bring that  to the forefront again. Knowing what kind of record we wanted  to make before we’d even written a song gave it direction, it  spearheaded a purpose.” 

Having a clear sonic blueprint propelled them into a creative  purple patch, with four or five song ideas taking shape every  day during writing sessions. By the time they got to Black Rock Studios in Santorini to record with VI and Suckapunch producer  Dan Austin, they were laser focused. It was a clarity of mind  that was reflected in Franceschi’s approach to writing the lyrics.  Eager not to repeat the haphazard way in which he worked on  Suckapunch (“there’d be weeks go by where people were  saying, ‘when are you going to write your parts for this song?!’”  and I’d be like, “I’ll have a few drinks and just blurt it out”), he  quit drinking for seven months and got into mental shape for an  inner deep dive. If You Me At Six were going to make the best  punk-pop-rock record of their career, he decided, then he  needed to be at his most emotionally sincere. “I realised people  love You Me At Six even more so when I’m taking something  and ripping it open and showing it at its rawest and most  vulnerable state,” he says. “I knew I wanted to face pain head  on across this record. That’s where I’m at my most potent. It’s  sometimes an issue for me and those around me that I need to  be either living in pain or have experienced pain to write real  shit, but it’s the way it is for me. When you really humanise a  situation in a song, it opens up so many ways for people to  inhabit your music.” 

It’s why the band decided to call the album Truth Decay. “It’s  the understanding and acceptance that there’s a beauty in the  breakdown,” explains Franceschi. “Sometimes something can  seem so obvious and clear but, actually, when you tear away at  it a little bit, you realise it’s not as simple as you thought.” It’s a  theme that is threaded through the record, truth and how it can  be manipulated and twisted. 

Searing, stomping opener Deep Cuts sets the tone. Driven by a  barbed riff and muscular groove, it’s a message from Franceschi to some of his friends and loved ones that they  deserve happiness and love on their terms, to be themselves  rather who they think society wants to be. “It’s this idea being  beaten into them that security and love and understanding isn’t  applicable to them when it is, it’s about recognising how worthy  you are to be happy. As I always have, I looked at things around me, the people that are part of my ecosystem and just  to tap into it.” 

The stirring anthem Mixed Emotions (I Didn’t Know How To Tell  You What I Was Going Through) is an open letter from  Franceschi to his bandmates about mental health and how the  group could’ve communicated differently over the years. “It’s  about, ‘I’m sorry I wasn’t equipped enough to be there’, or ‘I  don’t expect you to have been there, because how could you  know?’,” says Franceschi. When the singer talks to younger  bands these days, he tries to encourage them to be open and  honest with each other. “I don’t want them to make the same  mistakes, or go through the same shit we’ve gone through.” 

Those two tracks give the whole record its sense of compelling  momentum, an album of dynamism and gear changes that  sounds intricate and huge at the same time. The crunching God  Bless The 90s Kids pays homage to the scene that they came  through, After Love In The After Hours is a swooping epic,  whilst Enter Shikari’s Rou Reynolds helps bring the frantic  snarling of No Future? Yeah Right into land. “We were  recording it in Santorini and I thought, ‘there’s only one person I  can think of that can take this to another level’,” recalls  Franceschi. “I voice-noted Rou about it and got this really  buoyant message back, it lifted me and lifted the whole record.  There was a thing of, ‘somebody we really respect and love  feels the same about our music and wants to be part of it’. That  was great.” The song is a defiant response to people trying to  take the band down. “It’s about people essentially wanting to completely destroy us and end our career because things  hadn’t worked out – it happens in all walks of life, but  particularly business. I would label it a traumatic moment in our  band’s career.” 

The swarming Breakdown is destined to become one of the  band’s most explosive live tracks, born out of the frantic, Def  Con 1 energy you get when everything becomes too much,  whilst another guest helps out on hypnotic, poignant closer A Love Letter To Those Who Feel Lost. “I listened to Cody Frost’s  track Should’ve Known Better and I was floored. I messaged  her and said, “I’ve got this song that needs to go to another  gear and the way you do it, it would just completely elevate the  track. She’s awesome.” 

When the band were making Truth Decay, their mission  statement was to remind everyone that there isn’t a band to  touch them when it comes to making emo-rock. “Forget about  it,” Franceschi declares, “there’s nobody else that gets  anywhere near it.” Back on the frontline, everybody swinging,  Truth Decay is the sound of a band celebrating the scene that  they helped to build at the same time as showing where it can  go next. It’s You Me At Six at their brilliant best. They know  where they’ve come from, and they know where they’re going.

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