Huset, Copenhagen, DEN - 8/12
All Time Low
Written by: PP on 16/10/2012 14:36:08
Free from the constraints of the major label business, All Time Low wasted no time in recording a follow-up to last year's "Dirty Work". Returning to their previous home at the independent label Hopeless Records, their fifth album "Don't Panic" also sees the band adjust their sound back towards their roots and towards unashamedly poppy pop punk - think "Dear Maria, Count Me In" style, and away from the more polished radio pop of "Dirty Work" and to some extent, "Nothing Personal".
Though the band's lyrical universe and premise is still the same and automatically means they'll never be critic's darlings, as a whole "Don't Panic" contains some of the most catchy and most memorable tracks All Time Low have written since their early work. It feels more 'real' and more believable than the uber-polished and spotlessly clean guitar sound they had in the past, and in fact, they are now most comparable to Yellowcard on "Ocean Avenue"-era, just without the violins. So essentially by-the-books pop punk with big hooks, instantly catchy vocal harmonies, and artistic ambition being a mere afterthought in the light of just having fun and writing simple, but catchy pop punk songs. That's the approach that has always worked the best for All Time Low, so unsurprisingly when they return to writing big pop punkers they are also at the top of their game. Guest appearances from Cassadee Pope of Hey Monday, Anthony Raneri of Bayside, and Jason Vena of Acceptance also give some additional spice on the album, such as on the best song on the record, "So Long Soldier", where Cassadee and Anthony provide some non-All Time Low sounding melancholic vocal melody to contrast Alex Gaskarth's energetic pop punk style for good measure.
"Don't Panic" isn't without its gaffes, though. The ballad "The Irony Of Choking On A Lifesaver"is extremely cheesy, for instance, and there's a couple of standard pop punk tracks in between that are dangerously close to filler, at least in comparison to the strong material on the record. But as long as the band keep producing huge pop punk anthems like "To Live And Let Go", which surely will be monumental live, these are but a couple of skippable tracks in the midst of an otherwise solid album, and one that should shut the mouth of at least a couple of the loudest All Time Low critics out there. Why's that, you say? Well, if you like pop punk, there isn't much to dislike about "Don't Panic", it's really that simple. It takes no chances nor artistic liberties, and just focuses on writing infectious songs in the genre that'll hit right a home run with their fan base.
Download: Backseat Serenade, So Long Soldier, For Baltimore,
For the fans of: Hit The Lights, Fall Out Boy, Yellowcard, Cartel
Release date 09.10.2012