Sometimes, things don’t go as planned. For All Time Low – a band that looked set to reach popularity of Paramore proportions after ’09’s ‘Nothing Personal’ – that was very much the case with last year’s ‘Dirty Work’. Roping in a bunch of producers to co-write and aiming for an alt-rock sound might have been a good idea in hindsight, but the final product didn’t just disappoint their fans, it also dampened their acute career trajectory to the point of looking like things were close to falling apart.
Fast forward 18 months, and ‘Don’t Panic’ sees them returning home to their old label Hopeless, and crucially, their old sound. Without the hands of major label henchmen edging them into the most marketable direction, there’s an overwhelming feeling that consumes you when listening to ‘Don’t Panic’ that they’ve had more time, more room to breathe, and more fun this time around. At times it’s self-prophesising; bookending the album with the lyrics “Long live the reckless and the brave” and “You’ve got to let me be me” says more than they’ll ever do in interviews about the last 18 months of their career, but everything else in between is crunchy, sharp and totally, wonderfully reinvigorated. What happens now is anyone’s guess…

author: Andy Ritchie