The All American Rejects – “Kids In The Street”
Reviewed by Mark Plummer
Since their first album back in 2003, The All-American Rejects have always been a band that have done well in the mainstream market, selling over 10 million albums world wide and a single that garnered over 4 million downloads in the US alone (Gives You Hell). Yet, you would never say that there was a lot of pressure to deliver, they hold solid figures, but without the global expectation that you might expect. Kids in the Street is album number four for the quartet and has a lot to live up to after what was easily their strongest record to date (When the World Comes Down).
After the first few tacks it’s easy to tell that essentially there is nothing new going on here and it’s a trend that stays strong across the rest of the listen, each one of these songs has been done before and they aren’t stretching their legs into new territory. There are some subtle improvements to speak of compared to their predecessors. For instance Beekeepers’ Daughtermakes use of horns, some well controlled wah and even that old school instrument, the recorder at the end. But it doesn’t pull away from the fact that these tracks could easily have appeared on any of the previous releases one way or another. What we have here is a collection of sounds lifted from the first three albums and given a face lift, and here in lies its weakness.
Fast and Slow gives off an interesting 80s feel that is backed up with the synth intro. The vocals seem to play off each other and this becomes especially apparent during the chorus between the male lead and the female back up. It’s in the female vocals however that there lies a couple of problems, other than sounding poorly recorded, they also feel like they have been kept separated from the rest of the song, they lack that all important integration. Walk Over Me is a track that seems like it’s being held back from breaking into Status Quo’s Whatever You Want, it’s a great example of how AAR are doing something different on this album. Whilst the drums are a little disappointing on this track – they have great potential to sound so massive that they could fill a stadium – the fuzzy sounding bass keeps it interesting and when it breaks down to the organ it feels refreshing.
Out the Door is a track that brims with potential, however it’s slow and sombre pace is far from entertaining, true it does finally come alive, but it takes just over two minutes to get there. Fair enough there’s nothing wrong with a slower paced song, but it’s got to be approached right and stay interesting from the word “go”.
The main issue with the album is that whilst it’s not a bad album by any stretch, it very much lacks anything to entice the listener into playing it again, instead slipping to the bottom of the mind where it will acquire dust. There are moments where you can sense that this album is being held back from being that massive stadium filling album that would have improved it beyond recognition, alas it’s held back and tamed.
The most frustrating issue to be dealt with is how the songs have been produced. The progression from When the World Comes Down is definitely present and there’s plenty of creativity flowing through the album, but it’s lost in its production and has been stifled some what. This is an album for the hardcore fans, if that’s not who you are, then I’d advise on just downloading Beekeepers’ Daughter and Walk Over Me and saving yourself some cash.
3 out of 5