Oh god, the hooks on this thing.
Nobody could have seen this coming. After their last two albums found the band becoming more and more cliché, All Time Low were on the brink of complete obscurity. I’ll be the first to admit that after their last lifeless and contrived effort I simply stopped caring. Not only that, but I began to ignore them completely. The band is back however, and regaining fans like myself with their best effort since So Wrong, It’s Right. The guitars are bigger, the drums are louder and the vocals don’t feel as forced. In other words, All Time Low are back in full force and they show no signs of slowing down any time soon.
One thing that’s evident throughout Don’t Panic is the band is remembering how to have fun again. They were obviously never the most innovative musicians, but their effort So Wrong, It’s Right was filled with infectious, sugary pop punk that was impossible not to enjoy. Thankfully, this album finds them returning to their roots with some of the best songs they’ve released in years. That’s not to say this isn’t a guilty pleasure though, believe me it is. The lyrics are a slight improvement over their last two albums but they are still pretty weak at times . This is a forgivable offense however, since you’ll be having such a good time listening to the upbeat choruses and catchy guitars you won’t really give a ***. Besides, since when has pop punk been about deep, thought provoking lyrics?
One of the most welcome changes on Don’t Panic as oppose to their last effort has to be the captivating guitars. They truly reel the listener into the songs and breathe life into the album. The single ‘Somewhere In Neverland’ has a very New Found Glory sound to it, not necessarily in the vocal delivery, but throughout the memorable hooks and upbeat guitars. The album is also surprisingly consistent. Unfortunately it does lose some steam towards the end, but even the less enjoyable tracks are better than most the songs on the awful Dirty Work. The first song ‘The Reckless and the Brave’ sets the mood for the rest for the album with it’s enjoyable sing along choruses. The next four are some of the most uplifting pop rock tracks I’ve heard all year. One of the most stellar tracks however has to be final track ’So long, and Thanks for all the Booze’. It contains the most impressive drumming on the album and is a fashionable way to wrap things up.
Although there are several guest vocal appearances, they honestly don’t add much to the experience. The most enjoyable sound coming through your speakers will be Alex Gaskarth’s infectious voice which sounds better than it has in what feels like ages. At it’s core Don’t Panic is a just a good time, nothing more and nothing less. Those looking for originality or innovation should look elsewhere. I’ve been listening to the genre for over twelve years and I don’t remember the last time I heard pop punk this catchy and genuine. The band is on their own label now and while the music may still feel cheesy at times, it’s hard not to respect the band’s newfound energy. Let’s face it, sometimes life gets tough and nothing helps ease stress of the day like some good old fashioned pop punk.