Warped Tour rock that tries to satisfy everyone -- including the band
All Time Low's sixth album "Future Hearts" (Hopeless) sounds like one of their Warped Tour sets, a mix of pop-punk and emo-leaning power-pop ballads specially designed to keep their fans happy.
And that's a good thing. After all, while we may be in the midst of an emo revival led by Modern Baseball and The Hotelier, most of the leaders of the last emo revival have broken up (My Chemical Romance), gone pop-rock (Fall Out Boy, Paramore) or more straightforward rock (Taking Back Sunday, Dashboard Confessional).
All Time Low has always kept its emo ideals and pop-punk anthems in balance, and that doesn't change on "Future Hearts." The first single, "Kids in the Dark," is well-crafted pop-punk that will make you wonder where your Jimmy Eat World CD is, while "Runaways" is a soaring anthem that cleverly adds a bit of ska in the verses and EDM lift in the bridge.
What has changed, though, is how much stronger the band's songwriting has become. "Something's Gotta Give" is a catchy song that could work in pretty much any format. (Frankly, if they turned it over to Florida Georgia Line, they could top the country charts.) On "Missing You," they sneak some emotional heft into a breezy melody that's an acoustic-pop cousin to the Plain White T's' "Hey There, Delilah," with encouragements like "Hold on tight, this ride is a wild one" and "Don't lose your fight, kid."
The song that has divided fans is "Tidal Waves," which features Blink-182's Mark Hoppus on vocals. It's a power rock ballad, adorned with string sections and Smashing Pumpkins-like orchestrations. But as soon as that song drifts away, they follow it with "Don't You Go," an instant All Time Low sing-along.
"Future Hearts" will likely become the band's biggest hit yet, a matter of being at the right place at the right time with the right mix of songs.
THE GRADE B+