Thursday, July 9, 2009

Review: All Time Low "Nothing Personal"

All Time Low is one of the many "pop punk" bands struggling to stand out in the crowd. Their 2007 major label debut, "So Wrong, It's Right", earned some good press but really didn't increase their visibility too much. The band is out to change that with this year's follow-up, "Nothing Personal".

"Nothing Personal" pretty much picks up where "So Wrong, It's Right" left off. We have plenty of catchy, crunchy guitar riffs to complement the adolescent lyrical themes. While the lyrical content centers on the issues of their targeted demographic, there are some witty moments that indicate some actual thought went into writing them. Generally, the vocals stick to the comfort zone of pop punk - borderline whiny, but much more tolerable than other bands of this ilk. Lead vocalist/guitarist Alex Gaskarth shows he has more vocal dexterity on the album's decent closing ballad, "Therapy".

The album leads off with the single "Weightless" (video below), which I find to be a puzzling choice as it is a mediocre track. Much stronger are the follow up tunes "Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don't)" and "Lost In Stereo". The obligatory pop punk power ballad, "Sick Little Games", is another highlight. A lot of devoted fans are knocking the overly slick production (some of which is compliments of Butch Walker) - I don't mind this so much, but I did experience a wave of nausea at a couple of the electronica/house-rock fusions such as "Walls" and "Too Much". The genres are like oil and water and simply are not meant to be mixed!

Overall, there is marginal maturity with this new release, but I get the distinct feeling that maturity is not necessarily what their fans want at this point. All Time Low is all about fun and their brand of music delivers in that category. The problem, however, is that without crossing over to a wider audience, I don't see how they are going to be more than a blip on the radar.

iPOD-worthy: 2, 3, 4, 6, 12

All Time Low should please fans of New Found Glory, Simple Plan, and Sum 41.

All Time Low on MySpace. Official site.

Check out the video for "Weightless":

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