You Me at Six have long used a simple yet effective method to their songwriting, turning tired idioms and phrases such as "Save It for the Bedroom," "If I Were in Your Shoes," and "Finders Keepers" into catchy pop-punk hits, and Cavalier Youth makes no bones about continuing this technique. The title of the lead single, "Lived a Lie," provides the lyrics to the singalong chorus, partnered with a typically soaring melody, and "Win Some, Lose Some" follows a similar unimaginative pattern. At their fourth release, You Me at Six find themselves at a somewhat pivotal point in their young music career; with three years between this record and 2011's Sinners Never Sleep, the British rock outfit have had plenty of time to grow and evolve, but they don't show much appetite to push the boundaries here. With the overblown production on "Fresh Start Fever" sounding like a track straight off of a post-Infinity on High Fall Out Boy album -- which isn't surprising with the American band's pop-punk producer Neal Avron behind the desk for this record -- it isn't a sound that is wholly their own. There is, at times, a simplicity to You Me at Six's music that can often bring to mind the likes of Jimmy Eat World as they move through the gears on slow-burner "Cold Night," which brings out the moodier, roughened edges of the band's once sugary pop-punk anthems. Fortunately, the band have outgrown their short-lived flirtation with the heavier moments on Sinners Never Sleep, but instead throw in a brief, similarly out of place, acoustic folk-pop inspired "Be Who You Are." Normal service resumes with "Carpe Diem," which follows the group's pensive verses and soaring singalong chorus blueprint, and provides another clichéd phrase to boot. The Surrey band's commercial success is undeniable, and their rabid fan base is testament to their hard work and pop sensibilities that have resulted in U.K. chart success. So it's unsurprising that this album is filled to the brim of arena-sized singalong choruses -- which will undoubtedly be sung to the rafters by delirious teenage fans -- but unfortunately, they sound all too familiar.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Kerr