The Get Up Kids – There Are Rules
Record Label: Quality Hill Records
Release Date: January 25, 2011
On a Wire will forever be the reason I first wrote off The Get Up Kids, as well as my favorite album by the Kansas quintet at this point. I was young. I didn't understand what music could be, and I only knew what music raped itself upon me. A few years later, I was hooked with what would be the band's final album, Guilt Show. Slowly over the next few years, I would learn to celebrate the band's entire catalog - my least favorite at the time eventually becoming a staple in a list of my favorite albums of all time.
Funny how time and growth can make fools of us all. The same can be said about There Are Rules, the first full-length since reuniting from one of the pioneers of this whole indie-emo scheme. With the band including a cover of The Cure's "Close to Me" in most of their encores for their reunion tour last year, much of There Are Rules should not be a surprise then. At first you will instantly deem it On a Wire 2: Trans-Full Effect, but the album is more than that. It's not just a culmination of everything the band has done musically up until this point, but a homogeneous execution of every attitude and emotion throughout their massive catalog. The album will take many for a head spin at first, but when it clicks, it resonates perfectly.
There Are Rules aggressively launches into "Tithe" as James Dewees' module of samples and feedback fuel the rocket of a blasted opener with Matt Pryor's voice sounding as gritty as on the band's debut so many years ago. He vocally lets it go, and it feels so good to have that sound back. It's strong, mature and driving. Take the closing "Rememorable" and "Keith Case" (also found on the Simple Science EP last year) as other examples of brawn excellence.
We see Jim Suptic return to the vocal forefront on "Automatic," a pop-punk gem in its own right. But most of the album is opposite to that track and "Regent's Court" with a lot of heart-on-sleeve electronic tunes ("Shatter Your Lung" "Better Lie") and the atmospheric, mid-album trance of "Rally 'Round The Fool" - a standout and indie gem outside the box of expectancy for some, but not those familiar with some latter tracks and b-sides from Guilt Show. When "The Widow Paris" builds and explodes - yet again in Pryor's vocal onslaught of grit and abrasion - it all clicks. There is an angst that we are familiar with as fans, and it is beautifully buried underneath a wall of sound where five men more than have out grown their adolescence.
Some of There Are Rules will be hard to swallow for many of the band's fans. Believe me, it took a good three to four listens for it to finally snap in like a Star Wars Lego collection: the instrumental layering, the sheer brute of "the brothers Pope" rhythm section, the melodic crescendo and decrescendo. It's mainly about the way these pop kids have become anti-pop men. This is The Get Up Kids years later folks. The familiar nuances have been rearranged and built into something stronger, but the attitude and depth is all the same, if not more adhesive and much more endearing than before.
I'm glad to see this is good. I always trust these guys will make good tunes. Hopefully I'll pick this up when it's released. No matter how good this is, I think Four Minute Mile will always be my favorite by them. I used to play Fall Semester on repeat for forever. Anyway, nice review, dude.
This album is definitely holding my attention. I was kind of surprised this was TGUK, since the main song I remember from them is that one that goes "Ten minutes to downtown..." and the first few songs on this almost sound like some sort of 80's/post-punk mix. So far so good though. It'll probably end up being a top 5 album from January. Can't guarantee it'll hold up for the rest of the year, but as of now I'm definitely enjoying it.
what do you mean by, "what music raped itself onto you?"
hmm...you know, out of the whole review, I kept reading that line over and over again, playing with it, and I think I was just looking for an hyperbole as an opposite as to how dumb it was for me to write off a band on possibly their best album. I ate up a lot of music that came at me at that point in my life, and I think I just liked it or hated it before analyzing it...I let it take advantage of me....soooo, yeah. I know that line doesn't make sense, but then again, does anything I write ever make sense?
This album is really going to polarize the fan base. I hope that this album doesn't dominate their live set in the future, but the fact that they've been playing so much of STWHA to please their fans since the reunion makes me think it will. I imagine they're anxious to switch it up.
I'm not a fan of this album, but I can see/respect the fact that they chose to go with their guts and progress naturally as opposed to taking the easy route and give us some half-assed STWHA/FMM Part 2 that they didn't have their whole hearts behind. Here's hoping to the fact that my ears grow into it.