The first thing you realise about ‘The All American Rejects‘ is how young they are. The second is how much talent the duo have at such a young age. (That’s right, they do it all themselves, bringing two friends to help out for the live shows). The guys haven’t been around for a full three years yet, but are already riding the waves of popularity as this, their S/T debut has worked its way around through word of mouth alone. With an album full of samples, loops and keyboards it sounds awfully experimental for such a young band, but the moment you hear one of their first harmonies, you realise they are smothering initiative with music that will be plastered over MTV in no time.
But does it all work? It depends on how you look at the album. They obviously have a talent at making infectious melodies to die for, but for the emo-pop punk purist, they will be detested. Songs such as opener ‘My Paper Heart’ show the band at the foremost fusing drum samples over some of those infectious melodies which I struggle to stop mentioning. You could be forgiven if you thought you were listening to “Saves the Day” as ‘Your Star’ kicks in with a bouncy opening and a similar vocal range to their emo-pop counterparts. ‘Swing Swing’ has been chosen as the bands first single and is a sensible and safe option for airplay. It isn’t one of the better tracks of the album but still manages to holds its own.
‘One More Sad Song’ has an infectious chorus but the rest of the song falls a little flat struggling to find any great consistency or rhythm. ‘Time Stands Still’ fails to up the ante once more, but thankfully ‘Don’t Leave Me’ is a stonker of a track. It has a certain pace and emergency to it which fits in well with AAR’s upbeat style. The synthesised drums are at their foremost on the track and work surpisingly well. ‘Too Far Gone’ has almost an ‘epic’ feel too it, to use the term loosely. Unfortunately the song doesn’t quite live up to its early promise. ‘Drive Away’ stinks of recent New Found Glory efforts, which is no bad thing, and dare I say it AAR make a better job of it, another album highlight as the pace is upped.
‘Happy Endings’ has one of the best vocal harmonies I have heard in a long time and whether it would work on a live show is yet to be seen, but it sure as hell comes together on record. The band seem to fall flat again when it comes to the slower songs with ‘Why Worry’ suffering the same pitfalls as some of it’s predecessors. They say you should save the best till last and AAR have certainly heeded the advice, as the aptly named ‘The Last Song’ rounds off the album in spectacular fashion. Just as the opening track did, the song sums up the pair in the perfect light, as the melodies and samples come at you in perfect time.
Be prepared for the All American Reject onslaught because it is coming. A lot of bands are bandied about as ‘the next big thing’ but it has been a while since you actually realised it maybe true. Fans of Saves the Day, Dashboard Confessional and to a lesser extent Good Charlotte will lap them up. The band are destined for great things and with a support slot for the mighty Millencolin coming up, make sure you were there to see them before MTV got a stranglehold…