Wake Up Sunshine by All Time Low Review

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All Time Low have been around for quite some time, having released two EPs, two live DVDs, a handful of standalone singles and seven studio albums within the first fourteen years of their career, and their sound has evolved a lot over the years. Fast forward to 2020, and the Baltimore-based quartet are back with their eighth LP, titled “Wake Up, Sunshine.”

While “Last Young Renegade” noticeably leaned in a bit of a different direction, as the band experimented with a lot of pop and alternative elements, there are plenty of moments on “Wake Up, Sunshine” that show them returning to their pop rock and pop punk roots, some of which are found in a few of the singles that the band put out leading up to the album’s release. “Getaway Green” is easily the best example of this, with plenty of energy and extremely catchy guitar riffs reminiscent of those on past releases like “So Wrong, It’s Right” or “Nothing Personal.”

A handful of the songs on here combine that nostalgic pop punk sound with some of their more pop rock influences, and the remaining singles are really good examples of this. The fantastic lead single and opening track “Some Kind Of Disaster: brings a softer intro before upbeat verses and a massive chorus come in, “Sleeping In” brings a very energetic chorus, and “Melancholy Kaleidoscope” brings a ton of energy throughout, adding in some acoustic guitar to help drive its chorus. “Trouble Is” leans way more to the pop rock side, and sounds a little similar to newer work from Blink-182 and Simple Creatures, the project that All Time Low front man Alex Gaskarth has with Blink’s very own front-man, Mark Hoppus. Rian Dawson’s drumming really shines on this track, and the chorus offers up some pretty good melodies. There are also two tracks on here that were seemingly meant to be a bigger track together called “Seasons.” “January Gloom” is the first of these two tracks, bringing some slightly darker composition through some memorable guitar riffs and melodies throughout. “Summer Daze” is the second of those two, and the title is very fitting, given the happier and brighter tone that the song has musically, and it’s yet another perfect example of how well All Time Low have blended their pop rock and pop punk influences on this album.

The band also did quite a bit of experimentation on this record, with songs that show them trying something a little bit different. “Wake Up, Sunshine” (which I personally believe would have been a great choice for the opening track) delivers some slightly darker melodies and instrumentals during the verses and pre-choruses, leading up to a happy, carefree chorus. “Clumsy” is one of quite a few on here that allows Alex’s vocals to shine with some more slightly darker melodies in the beginning, leading up to one of the biggest and best choruses on the whole album. “Monsters” is also on the darker side, which I think fits the song very well. Blackbear is featured on the track, and while that collaboration was a bit unexpected, his vocal style and the guest feature overall compliments the song perfectly. The other feature found on this album is on the upbeat “Favorite Place,” which features The Band CAMINO. The guitars are a bit more reminiscent of CAMINO’s signature indie/alternative sound and gives the song that sort of vibe (for the most part), but the song does a great job at mixing that sound with the blend of pop rock and pop punk that All Time Low have created throughout this record.

In contrast, a couple of the songs on here show a softer side of the band’s sound, similar to the overall sound of their previous album, “Last Young Renegade.” Interlude “Pretty Venom” is probably the most simplistic track on the album, but it works really well as an interlude and its placement on the track-list seems fitting, and closing track “Basement Noise” (one of my favorites) brings a solid vocal performance in the chorus and lyrics that reflect on the band’s humble beginnings. “Safe” is driven by subtle instrumentation in the softer verses before a huge anthemic chorus comes in, and the same can be said about “Glitter & Crimson,” which is primarily led by softer percussion and acoustic guitar as it leads up to a much harder hitting bridge with one of the strongest vocal performances this record has to offer.

“Wake Up, Sunshine” shows bits and pieces of All Time Low’s history as a band, combining the various elements of pop, rock, alternative and everything in between that they’ve incorporated into their sound over the years. Overall, this is a refreshing pop rock record, yet another fantastic one from All Time Low, and easily one of my favorite albums from this year so far.

Listen to the song here

Review courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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Miss May I & The Word Alive celebrate 10 Year Anniversary of “Monument” & “Deceiver” ft Afterlife, Rozu, & Thousand Below | Photos + Review

In the summer of 2010, two of some of the biggest bands in the metalcore and post-hardcore scene released what could arguably be some of the most important albums in their careers. Miss May I released their sophomore record “Monument” on August 16th, and exactly two weeks later, The Word Alive dropped their debut album “Deciever.” With the ten-year anniversary of both of these albums almost right around the corner, both bands embarked on a co-headlining North American tour to celebrate the occasion, bringing along Afterlife and Thousand Below to support them, as well as having some up-and-coming bands from certain areas open up their local date of the tour. 

Opening up the night was Denver-based metalcore band Rozu. Though their set was only twenty minutes, they put everything into their performance and put on a really good show. They played the four singles that they have out currently (“Dissolve,” “Divide,” “Faceless,” and “Anchor”), as well as an unreleased track called “Rue.”. The band’s metalcore sound showed through the energy and aggression found throughout their live set, and their performance overall really impressed me. 

Next up was Florida-based band Afterlife. The band dropped their debut LP “Breaking Point” back in January of this year, and primarily included songs from that in their setlist: “PSA,” “Throat,” “Broken Home,” “New Rage,” and “Giving Back The Pain.” However, they still made room in their set for an older track, which was “Vicious Cycle,” the title track from their debut EP of the same name. The band mixes elements from various types of rock, and particularly alternative rock and nu-metal, and that blend of influences showed really well through their set and the songs they chose for it. 

The third band on the bill was Thousand Below. The band opened the set with their latest single “Chemical,” which is one of the most melodic (and in my personal opinion, one of the catchiest) tracks that they’ve released so far. They followed that up with two more of my favorite songs of theirs, debut single “Sinking Me” and “The Love You Let Too Close,” the title track from their debut album that came out last year. The remainder of the set was filled with a few more songs from that album: “Vein,” which is one of the band’s most aggressive tracks and one that really got the crowd moving, “No Place Like You” and “Tradition.” The band has always stood out to me in the post-hardcore genre and their live performance was further proof of that. 

Second to last was The Word Alive, who began the set by playing their album “Deceiver” from start to finish in honor of the anniversary. This album in particular is one of their much more aggressive records, but also has plenty of powerful and memorable choruses and some meaningful lyrics, so as much as their set had the crowd moshing and surfing, it had them singing along for the hour long set. After those ten songs were finished, the band played some of their more recent tracks – “Trapped,” the lead single off of their 2016 album “Dark Matter,” “Misery,” a single that was released on its own awhile after the album dropped, and “Why Am I Like This?,” which is a song from their latest album “Violent Noise” and one of my personal favorites of theirs. 

Closing out the night was Miss May I, who played not only all the songs found on Monument when it first dropped, but also the tracks found on the deluxe reissue. After that, they concluded their set with three different songs that spanned from their entire discography: “Hey Mister” from “At Heart,” “Forgive and Forget” and “Shadows Inside,” the title track from their most recent release. They easily played one of the heaviest sets of the night, with people moshing and crowd surfing almost instantly, and put so much energy into their performance as well. 

This tour was my first time seeing all of these bands, and I loved it. Everyone on the lineup put on a great performance, and this tour was a great way to commemorate and celebrate the anniversary of two important albums for this genre of music.

7/30/2019 – Photos + Review courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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