The Get Up Kids - Kicker - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Get Up Kids - Kicker

by James Weiskittel Rating:5 Release Date:2018-06-08
The Get Up Kids - Kicker
The Get Up Kids - Kicker

Pop/Punk veterans The Get Up Kids have essentially been operating in a ‘part-time’ mode for much of the past decade, touring sporadically while raising their respective families, a theme that seems central to their latest release, the four-song EP Kicker.  Recorded over the course of a year in Baldwin, Kansas (of all places), the four songs that comprise Kicker find the band mining the same ‘grown-up’ themes that they began exploring 2011’s There Are Rules.

Kicking things off with an appropriate bang, the amped-up “Maybe” serves the band well as a statement of reintroduction.  While all of the expected ingredients (big guitars and singer Matt Pryor’s rapid-fire vocals addressing a litany of relationship-themed woes) are still in place, it’s clear from the onset that The Get Up Kids are determined to find way to channel their adolescence in a way that actually makes sense for a bunch of forty-something used-to-be punks.  

While the mid-tempo, emo-by-numbers “Better This Way” and the arena-rock-ready “I’m Sorry” are sure to please longtime fans, the closing “My Own Reflection” is Kicker’s true saving grace, a synth-laden slab of power-pop that is easily the collection’s most adventurous song.

With all of that being said, one has to wonder if working for so long on what amounts to only twelve minutes of music didn’t eventually work against the band.  It’s not that Kicker sounds half-baked - the EP sounds amazing - on the contrary, it’s as if any sense of ‘fun’, and perhaps even the hooks themselves, have been baked right out of these songs. 

However, while there is an understandable temptation to dismiss Kicker as merely an obligatory pre-tour release, the collection fares better when viewed as a possible taste of what is to come. Whether or not that’s enough to justify checking this out probably depends on whether or not there’s a faded The Get Up Kids concert tee somewhere in the back of your closet.    

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