The Get Up Kids There Are Rules
Regardless of how the resulting albums turn out, all reunited bands should be required to write new songs, if only to avoid becoming their own tribute acts. (Pixies, we’re looking at you.) So while The Get Up Kids’ first album since reuniting in 2008—and first album at all since 2004—doesn’t come close to matching the emo-tastic heights reached on Four Minute Mile and Something To Write Home About, There Are Rules deserves props just for existing, and the fact that the band has ventured into uncharted territory means that the golf clap can be bumped up to real applause. The truly surprising moments come via electronic flourishes that show up throughout the record, most significantly and successfully during the deep-grooved, poppy “Shatter Your Lungs.” Elsewhere, there’s something almost industrial about Rob Pope’s fat, distorted bass and his brother Ryan’s propulsive beats. And yet even as These Are Rules is being propelled by an unsubtle energy that proves these guys aren’t just going through the motions, the songwriting itself seems undercooked, as though we’re listening to jam-session demos before the hooks were added in. There’s no doubt that these guys can still rock with all the heart-on-sleeve younguns they’ve influenced; now they just have to rediscover something worth writing home about.