Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Review: The All-American Rejects - Kids in the Street

 My first full listening experience of the All-American Rejects came after listening to 2004s Move Along in it's entirety and it really summed up the entire experience of the band. The songs that gain radio play and have music videos are the decent songs, as Dirty Little Secret, Move Along and It Ends Tonight prove themselves to be delighful slabs of tearaway emo pop. The rest of the album? Meh. Good filer material apart from the closer Can't Take It, the dullest song in my music colection. This is the  overall experience with most AAR albums. Dirty Little Secret, Swing, Swing and Gives You Hell are now emo pop anthems but there's little to be made of the rest of their albums. And now, with their fourth release Kids In the Street, listeners are presented with an album that's pretty lacking in hit material as well.

 The album is a clear indication of maturity within the band which reflects on a growing influence from more sophisticated acts of alternative rock coming into their work. It also reveals the band dwelling more on their pop music credentials, as shining production from Greg Wells (Known for his production work with pop acts like Mika and Katy Pery) gaves the groups music a much daintier touch. This will without a doubt annoy fans of The All-American-Rejects' pop punk based material as there is generally little impressive work to be found here in terms of guitar playing and decent hooks. Occasionally you can find features such as Someday's Gone's impressive buildup of riffs from Nick Wheeler and Mike Kennerty, or the swinging hooks that make up Walk Over Me, the most stripped down and rock based song on the album. However, the overall result is music that lets synthesized backdrops and the pop swagger of frontman Tyson Ritter do the talking.
 Without a doubt, Kids in the Street does have a certain amount of charm riding on it, very much in a blissfull summery way. Perhaps it's easier to appreciate right now because across Scotland there is actually sun in the sky for the first time in an eternity and the bright melodies of songs like Beekeeper's Daughter are much easier to appreciate when the climate is like this and we sit out in the park during our free periods in school. It is very much an album with summery tunes and the idea of it being used in any other situation is somewhat proposterous.
 Sadly, there are a lot of songs that do try and take away from the blissful attitude on this album. There's very little to these songs that make them engaging in any way. Heat Slowing Down presents itself in the form of a horrendous 80s pop ballad with dated sounding synthesizers and Ritter's desperate romantic tone throughout makes it anything but appealing, plus tracks like Gonzo and Affection see the group lose themeselves in their attempts to sound more sophisticated and end up dripping with pretentiousness. The only tiem these elements work well is on the morbid-romantic closer Drown Next to Me which is much more engaging.
 Overall, while this album is certainly not going to be appreciated by the emo pop community, we've reached a time of year that allows this collection of bright summery tunes to be appreciated as best as they possibly can. You could say I enjoy it on account of the heat getting to my head. But this is far from the essential All-American Rejects collection and if you want to have the essential set of AAR songs, be a lazy music purchaser and download their singles. They're all you'll need.

 The All-American Rejects' Kids in the Street is out now via DCG. The band will tour the UK in June with Blink-182, Four Year Strong, Twin Atlantic and The Blackout.

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