All Time Low

Wake Up, Sunshine

Written by: PP on 10/01/2021 19:42:27

After a couple of lackluster records, the eighth All Time Low album "Wake Up, Sunshine" feels like a breath of fresh air, especially for longtime fans. Few recall their pop punk origins from fifteen years ago, but those are gloriously revisited here while simultaneously steering clear from the all-out pop of their last two records, "Last Young Renegade" and "Future Hearts". In other words, All Time Low return from the stratospheres and plant their feet firmly in the ground, nicely audible through a still polished but not overtly theatrical production (save for maybe the radio-friendly pop ballad "Monsters")

Although opener "Some Kind Of Disaster" doesn't yet reveal it, already on second track "Sleeping In", the expression feels like a throwback to the "So Wrong, It's Right" days. It's a fast-paced, upbeat pop punk track laced with catchy hooks and an even catchier sing-along chorus. Yes, the production is still polished, but at least we get solid guitar melodies here. "Getaway Green" alternates back to simplistic pop-rock yet ensures a few pop punk-style guitars are present, but it is on "Melancholy Kaleidoscope" that we get to what is probably closest to their debut album in terms of fretwork and vocal interplay that we've heard in years. It's great to hear All Time Low go back down the pop punk route, if only for the verses. The chorus is still geared towards pop again, but at least the guitars are crunchy and clearly pop-punk tinged.

Sadly, the middle segment of the record is where the band regresses back into the pop realm of songs that are at best average. Yes, "Monsters" is a huge song but it is also extremely predictable like the rest of the radio pop garbage out there. Not exactly a song with much staying power. "Pretty Venom" is too balladic for its own good, "Favorite Place" features The Band Camino but ends up sounding like filler, and "Safe" is a generic pop-rock anthem with a big chorus but it's not exactly going to excite any older All Time Low fans.

As we traverse through the record, it becomes clearer and clearer that ATL is at their best when some or all of the following conditions are met: guitars are crunchy and/or hook-laden, the tempo is upbeat and energetic, or we otherwise source deeper from the punk side than from the pop one. A song like "Clumsy" is just better than "Favorite Place". Likewise, "Summer Daze Seasons pt. 2" despite its balladic nature resembles enough classic mid-2000s pop punk ballads to win you over.

Overall, "Wake Up, Sunshine" is still a far cry from the best ATL records, however, it is a remarkable improvement over the last two. It's good to see the band move back in the direction of rock and pop-punk holistically rather than remain in the radio world of nothing saying pop songs. A decent effort, albeit at fifteen songs, probably three or four songs too long.


Download: Sleeping In, Melancholy Kaleidoscope, Getaway Green
For the fans of: Simple Plan, Fall Out Boy, The Maine
Listen: Facebook

Release date 03.04.2020
Fueled By Ramen

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