Hold Me Down

Since the release of their debut full-length, Take Off Your Colours, in late 2008, British rockers You Me At Six landed a Stateside distribution deal with Epitaph Records along with stints on last year's Warped Tour and AP's Fall Ball. In that year-and-a-half span, the quintet have also successfully transitioned from relative pop-punk also-rans to a well-oiled modern-rock machine.

Eschewing done-to-death pop-punk in favor of a streamlined, hard-charged rock-based sound, nearly every aspect of Hold Me Down is superior to its predecessor. The group's songwriting skills have markedly improved as they play with dynamics and textures on "Liquid Confidence" and "Stay With Me." First single "The Consequence" conjures up memories of new-era Taking Back Sunday (complete with a teeth-gritted vocal section that should have Adam Lazzara asking for royalties), while "Trophy Eyes" channels its delayed guitar riffs into the same kind of high-flying rock Story Of The Year built their name on.

The band's pop-punk past peeks its head out on the upbeat "Take Your Breath Away," but the majority of Hold Me Down is rife with big guitar and drum sounds and even bigger choruses. None is more huge than "Hard To Swallow," which balances aggressive verses with a sugary refrain to create the disc's best cut. You Me At Six are used to playing sold-out shows in the U.K., but Hold Me Downmight soon net the group that same success in America.

Virgin http://www.youmeatsix.com