All Time Low – Future Hearts
Future Hearts finds All Time Low in a relatively safe place. The guitar-driven “punk” they made their name with is smoother than ever with a solid, jangly Weezer vibe as opposed to bricked out walls of guitar.
Over the course of six full-lengths, the heirs to Blink-182’s crown of potty-mouthed pop-punk have pushed the envelope, moved the goalposts and refined what’s possible while gunning for total commercial success. While the journey hasn’t been without its missteps, Future Hearts finds All Time Low in a relatively safe place. The guitar-driven “punk” they made their name with is smoother than ever with a solid, jangly Weezer vibe as opposed to bricked out walls of guitar – “Something’s Gotta Give” is one of the best songs they’ve ever penned with an expectedly huge chorus and plenty of opportunities for the stadium crowds it’ll no doubt get played in front of to pump their fists and scream back at frontman Alex Gaskarth. “Kicking And Screaming,” “Kids In The Dark” and “Runaways” follow the same blueprint so older fans will remain satisfied. The expected mellow cuts come often, “Missing You” a twee ukulele moment for the eternally sad tweens and “Tidal Waves” indulging in some classic self-titled Blink-182 type emo melodrama with the requisite lighter (smart phone) in the air moments.
Where Fall Out Boy are content to throw the rulebook (and their instruments) straight out the window and Green Day morphed into a rock opera, All Time Low display what you could either term admirable restraint or a lack of balls by continuing to colour within the lines. Sure, there are electronic flourishes, a few twinkling keys, strings and beats that are more computer than human, but it’s all still within the realms of the band’s origins and mission statement. This no doubt is the reason a song like the aforementioned “Something’s Gotta Give” comfortably sits among All Time Low’s best, whereas no one is saying that about any post-hiatus Fall Out Boy tracks.
While veering into diabetes-inducing musical sugar overloads at times, Gaskarth’s dry lyrics are a great foil and keep things on track. Considering they stand head and shoulders above their peers in earnest wet dream garbage like The Maine, Simple Plan and Boys Like Girls, we’re happy to let them get away with it.
The Essential Track: “Something’s Gotta Give” – The best All Time Low song since “Weightless” – 3:10 of pop perfection.