On October 9, pop-punk band All Time Low released their fifth studio album, Don’t Panic back on Hopeless Records after a flop while signed to major label Interscope Records last year. The entire album is a well-written work of art, and these boys are back.
The record starts off with “The Reckless and The Brave,” the first single the band released to give their audience a taste of what was to come. It has the feel of an anthem, uplifting and real. Jack Barakat shreds on the guitar and Rian Dawson gets happy on the drums and crashes the cymbals. The song has the qualities of a catchy single as it should and it sounds like it could be a crowd favorite at shows, the kind of song where fans can shout “long live us!”
It’s hard to follow a track like that, and the next song, “Backseat Serenade” unfortunately fails to live up to its predecessor. The song features vocals from Cassadee Pope of Hey Monday and a more poppy vibe. Although Pope is featured to create richer vocal harmonies, the song falls flat, feeling a little bland in the end.
“If These Sheets Were States” is next, and it is quickly able to make up for the speed bump that came before it. The song is upbeat and lively with creative lyrics. The overall vibe and sound remind me a little of We The Kings, if that says anything.
Next up we have one of my favorite songs off the album: “Somewhere In Neverland.” It has this sweet pop-punk vibe to it and Dawson shows off his skilled drumming, drumming fast and with precision. The lyrics are inventive and playful and lead vocalist Alex Gaskarth delivers. Barakat introduces a great guitar riff to the chorus. Overall, great song.
After that, we have “So Long Soldier” featuring Anthony Raneri of Bayside. It carries a heavier sound, and it delves into All Time Low’s pop-punk roots. Barakat plays with distortion, adding a little crunch to the mix and Gaskarth sings a solid chorus. It’s another song on the record taking a look back at how far the band has come, but hell, it’s a good one. Another favorite.
“The Irony Of Choking On A Lifesaver” is catchy and angsty and sarcastic. The lyrics are inventive and creative and feature a great chorus. It’s sure to be a fan favorite at shows, and it keeps up with the heavier vibe set by the song preceding it.
Following we have “To Live And Let Go.” Great intro, and it gets a little heavy during certain parts. Feels a little like Green Day, as does much of this album. The band stops playing for a dramatic pause before, boom, power chords. And finger picking. Very nice.
Next we have “Outlines” featuring Jason Vena of Acceptance. This song is also the only one where All Time Low brought in co-writer Patrick Stump, and wow, this is a great song in every way. Vocal harmonies are great, and the chorus is nice. Analyzing the lyrics and song structure, you get the feel of Stump’s style, almost reminiscent of his more recent solo work on Soul Punk. And damn, Barakat ends it well, playing with power and conviction.
Afterwards, we have “Thanks To You,” the beginning of which reminds me a little of the William Beckett’s “Oh, Love!” It’s upbeat and catchy and a little more on the pop side. During that guitar break down about three-quarters of the way through, that my friend, is the appropriate time to open up the pit. Just saying.
“For Baltimore” comes next, and it was the second single the band released back in late August. The song starts out slow and sounding like Green Day, but then it picks up. I’m loving the bass line produced by Zack Merrick. It’s a lovely song, a tribute to their hometown.
To follow we have a song called “Paint You Wings” which is creative even in its title. You can jam even from the beginning with the focus drawn to the lyrics. The chorus creates more interest instrumentally, creating something for the band’s audience to jam to.
The final track is entitled “So Long, And Thanks For All The Booze/Let Me Be Me.” During the first two verses, Gaskarth repeats the lyrics, “You gotta let me be me,” letting it resonate in the listener’s mind. It gets a little heavy and keeps the band’s audience pumped, and overall, it’s a great way to end the album, or even a show in the near future.
Don’t Panic surprised me. It’s well written, well put together, and overall phenomenal. It has a couple of kinks, but the boys have made it far. As made evident in this recent release, they aren’t slowing down anytime soon, and they’ll keep you coming back for more.
Written by Paula Mirando