12 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

All Time Low's fifth studio album finds the band back on Hopeless Records. But a return to its indie label doesn't warrant a return to its indie roots. Rather than backpedal for the sake of nostalgia, this Baltimore quartet injects the pop half of its emo-pop sound with sonic steroids. “The Reckless and the Brave” opens, boasting what sounds like impressively expensive and pristine production. Multilayered guitars, a metronome-timed rhythm section, and Alex Gaskarth's overlapping vocals were mixed with the laser precision of a classic AOR album by Journey or Boston. This makes most of the songs on 2012’s Don’t Panic play with a larger-than-life feel suited for arena-sized stages and commercial radio airplay. But if you like catchy, unflawed guitar pop, this is hardly a bad thing. Check out the unarguably catchy “Sometime in Neverland,” a salient single that chugs on power pop chords à la Weezer or Fountains of Wayne before triggering a chorus peppered with more barbed hooks than a tackle box. “For Baltimore” celebrates the band's hometown with similarly exaggerated pop aplomb.

EDITORS’ NOTES

All Time Low's fifth studio album finds the band back on Hopeless Records. But a return to its indie label doesn't warrant a return to its indie roots. Rather than backpedal for the sake of nostalgia, this Baltimore quartet injects the pop half of its emo-pop sound with sonic steroids. “The Reckless and the Brave” opens, boasting what sounds like impressively expensive and pristine production. Multilayered guitars, a metronome-timed rhythm section, and Alex Gaskarth's overlapping vocals were mixed with the laser precision of a classic AOR album by Journey or Boston. This makes most of the songs on 2012’s Don’t Panic play with a larger-than-life feel suited for arena-sized stages and commercial radio airplay. But if you like catchy, unflawed guitar pop, this is hardly a bad thing. Check out the unarguably catchy “Sometime in Neverland,” a salient single that chugs on power pop chords à la Weezer or Fountains of Wayne before triggering a chorus peppered with more barbed hooks than a tackle box. “For Baltimore” celebrates the band's hometown with similarly exaggerated pop aplomb.

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