All Time Low have come a long way from the days of ‘The Party Scene’ and ‘Put Up Or Shut Up’. Now they’re enjoying regular radio airplay and packing out bigger venues with screaming fans. Following up the less than eagerly received ‘Dirty Work’, the pop-punk quartet have returned with their new full-length, ‘Don’t Panic’. It’s a shift back towards their earlier sound, which some would argue is a bad thing and that bands should develop their sound and progress. But, this band are still adding to their repertoire whilst returning to a sound that made them successful to begin with.
Catchy opener ‘The Reckless And The Brave’ sets the tone of the album, relying on infectious rhythms rather than novelty value, like the simply awful ‘I Feel Like Dancin”. Noticeable across this record is the talent the band holds for vocal harmonies courtesy of guitarist Jack Barakat and Zack Merrick, prominent on the choruses of ‘Backseat Serenade’ and ‘The Irony Of Choking On A Lifesaver’.
Combining all their strengths leads to some outstanding performances on this album, be it a move from standard pop-punk to a more fast and furious guitar work on top track ‘So Long Soldier’, or a far stronger vocal performance from frontman Alex Gaskarth on big numbers ‘To Live And Let Go’ and ‘Paint You Wings’; these songs really show how the band have progressed from some criticism they received after their last release. Their recent departure from a major label and returning back to independent roots Hopless Records may have been a great help with this.
Some bands have blips in their career. People argue that Funeral For A Friend did before ‘Welcome Home Armageddon’, many condemn Lostprophets for ‘Liberation Transmission’ and Linkin Park for ‘Minutes To Midnight’. What’s more important, however, is how a band proceeds afterwards and if they can return to their previous form.
I’m glad to say that it seems All Time Low have with perhaps a more mature approach. Hopefully they’ll carry on from here and keep making great albums, which is unfortunately more than can be said for some of the other bands that I mentioned above.
author: Jonathon Barlow