You know you’re getting old when a band you still think of as “kids” is on their seventh album. You know what you’re getting with All Time Low. Alex Gaskarth and co are reaching the maximum age at which they can still get away with this. Then again, one need only look at Green Day trotting out the same schtick that they were playing as teenagers to see that the facade needn’t fall while the time is appropriate.
Like Pierce The Veil, ATL are a different proposition on record than they are live. Live, they are the descendants of The Descendents, while in the studio, they are The Wanted. The production is laid on so thick that it is difficult to see through but if you can penetrate the studio sheen, there are solid tunes underneath that usually only surface when the band play live. This Cartesian dichotomy makes listening to Last Young Renegade like panning for gold, but the gold is there.
The title track that opens the album has a ‘Boys Of Summer’ melody with a melancholic vibe to match. The familiar line between the emo and the euphoric continues on ‘Drugs & Candy’. ‘Dirty Laundry’ and ‘Good Times’ are sub-boy band whinging but the lost momentum is swiftly recovered by ‘Nice2KnoU’. On this recent single, ATL unleash riffs and beats under ‘woah-woahs’ and a bouncy chorus that Blink-182 would envy. The refrain of “One more time as if we planned it/We just want to do some damage” will get the dance floor hopping.
‘Nightmares’ is a departure and the standout track of Last Young Renegade. It's an Airborne Toxic Event type tune; understated by ATL standards and easy on the autotune, ‘Nightmares’ has Chvrches melodies, and is an adventurous and ambitious song. ‘Dark Side of Your Room’, bizarrely, has the most recognisable pop/rock lead vocal but is given the least straightforward musical banking. With ‘Ground Control’ and ‘Afterglow’, the record peters to a finish in an uninspiring fashion with some ‘80s AOR.
Last Young Renegade isn't going to change your life but it should win more young alternative fans for the band. A lot of this album will slip straight in to their live set and fit squarely with their greatest hits. If you’re an ATL fan, past or present, you'll dig this. If you're not, then you're not missing much.