Initial Thoughts Album Review
After a first listen, I am a bit lot for words. If I didn't recognize Pryor and Suptic's voices, I would not in a million years have known this was a Get Up Kids album. Portions sound heavily influenced by some of the grittier keyboard-based sounds of Dewes' Reggie and the Full Effect. The track "Birmingham" would fit well on a Japandroids release. "Shatter Your Lungs" seems out of place - fitting better with the likes of "Fountain of Youth" from Pryor's side-project New Amsterdams' album, At the Foot of my Rival.
There are Rules is dominated by lots of fuzzy distorted bass, distorted effects on vocals and electronic noise - none of which are elements familiar to longtime TGUK fans. In addition, the timbre and tone of the guitars is strikingly on the treble end - little bass-end distortion on the guitars - little traditional punk palm-muted rhythms.
This is one of their more consistently noisy efforts since Woodson or Four Minute Mile. The more pop-oriented sensibilities of more recent releases make appearances, but they are fleeting and isolated to a few tracks. A lot of noise here. It sounds a bit like a band, now reunited, wanting to reemerge with a new and evolved sound. This would be par for the course, as each of their previous releases signaled significant departures in sound. However, this new effort sounds like that evolution was a bit forced. It sounds like they are trying to NOT sound like their previous albums (and they succeed), but the result lacks a consistency that most of their other big changes (On a Wire, in particular), did maintain. I get that this isn't the same old Get Up Kids - they have made that point loud and clear.
I am left asking myself, however, what then is this? I hear a bunch of fractured sounds, ideas and approaches thrown together. It is not that I don't like it. In fact, I rather enjoy all the noise, angst and gritty vocals. But, I am not sure how well it all holds together... Perhaps after a few more listens things will start to gel and make sense...we'll see...
Out January 25th