I was sent a little 4 track preview of The All-American Rejects upcoming album Kids in the Street, and I must say I'm impressed with what I've heard so far. I have never been the biggest AAR fan. I enjoyed a few cuts off their first two albums, but their last album was a disaster to me. So I was a little wary going into my first listen, but after a few listens, I can safely say these songs are some of my best AAR songs I've heard and I think the album will appeal to fans of late 90s/early 00s pop rock.
The first song I listened to was the one the band premiered a few weeks ago: opening track "Someday's Gone." Really enjoyed Tyson Ritter's vocals on this and liked the energy behind it, as it reminded me a bit of Green Album era Weezer. The title track is a mid-tempo jam that flows in the vein of The Killers circa Day and Age, as eerie synth and keys add some texture to the track. Sounds like something that would be the soundtrack to a group of friends road tripping through a dry valley.
The final two songs that were sent to me are the two that impressed me the most. "Bleed Into Your Mind" starts out scarcely with a lot of cool/weird noises happening in the background. It really highlights Ritter's vocals as his voice gradually rises throughout the track. It's definitely one of the weirder AAR tracks in recent memory but it sounds great and they pull it off well. But my favorite of the batch is the five minute "Gonzo." It's another track that begins quietly with a lightly strummed guitar line and drum beat. Ritter's breathy vocals are urgent ("it's better this way/it's better this way/gambling with life/it was our turn to play"). I can see a lot of people enjoying this song, whether they're AAR fans or not. It's very cool and it's another example of the band pushing their boundaries instead of just settling for another top 40 hit and remaking "Give You Hell."
Even though I've only heard 4 of the (I believe) 13 tracks of the album (I hear great things about "The Beekeeper's Daughter"), I think it has the potential to be the best AAR album to date. Our mysterious leader Jason Tate has heard the entire thing and he has stated that it is their best work, so that should make a lot of people excited. I'll say this, if you gave up on the band like I did because of their last album, you need to give this album a shot when it releases. I think a lot of people will be surprised by this release. I know I was.
That was my first reaction after hearing the first 45 seconds or so to opening track "Acid Rain." Immediately I could tell This Is Hell had created something special in their genre, and one of the best albums in 2011. You can hear it in Travis Reilly's unforgiving screams or Rick Jimenez's outstanding guitarwork. This isn't your typical hardcore release, this is straight up thrash metal and it will destroy you. From the pulverization of the title track to the insane "Mi Nombre," Black Mass shows off a lot of different styles. No riff sounds the same, Reilly has expanded his vocal range, and each track has something unique to it.
Everyone loves to complain how viral marketing is dumb and that the product never lives up to the hype. Well this time they are wrong, This Is Hell has made an album that will exceed your expectations and then punch you in the nose. All rise for the Black Mass.
Andy Hull promised that his band, Manchester Orchestra, would follow up their second album, Mean Everything To Nothing, with an album that wouldn't just be a step up, but "an entire staircase." As hyperbolic as that may seem, he is absolutely correct. Simple Math still features some of the heavier aspects of METN, but they're dirtier and hit in the right place every time. Add in some huge orchestral tracks and a children's choir, and you have a bonafide album of the year contender. "Mighty" is delightfully epic, while "Virgin" is incredibly eerie and poignant. "Pensacola" might be the "poppiest" you'll ever hear ManOrch, as gang vocals join forces with horns to create some sort of Format-ManOrch hybrid beast track. There are still great, striking softer moments on the album too, including "Pale Black Eye" and the 7 and half minute closer, "Leaky Breaks."
Overall, fans of the band will be very pleased with Simple Math, the perfect step - excuse me- staircase up from Mean Everything To Nothing.