A return to the care-free romance that made songs from earlier efforts so addictive
Dillon Eastoe
21:56 31st March 2020

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After a few years away in which their members have explored side projects (notably Alex Gaskarth’s Simple Creatures work with Mark Hoppus) the pop-punk world needed a new All Time Low record. Especially when we’re all sitting inside staring at the walls for the foreseeable future. Over their fifteen years there’s not been a more consistent outfit for pumping out catchy, giddy bubblegum punk anthems. Having taken a more conceptual route on their last two albums, Wake Up Sunshine is a return to the care-free romance that made songs from earlier efforts Don’t Panic and Nothing Personal so endearing and addictive.

The opening one-two, released as a double single last month, serves as a loving homage to two of the band’s most obvious heroes. ‘Some Kind of Disaster’ rides a boozy chorus that reeks of Green Day, while ‘Sleeping In’ is the best blink-182 song in recent memory, all breakneck drum fills and breathless vocal runs and featuring a knowingly 2000s hook, “If I said I want your body, would you hold it against me? Seven in the morning while I listen to Britney.”

The title track ‘Wake Up Sunshine’ is all about self-love delivered via a smart surf-rock backbeat. At fifteen tracks, there’s still room for ATL to deviate from the tried and true, with ‘Monsters’ inviting blackbear to rap over its verses. The song suffers a little from its own bluster and doesn’t hit as hard as the more standard fare on here but there’s so much to like elsewhere on Wake Up Sunshine that Alex and co. have earned the right to mess around on a few songs. The Band Camino’s presence on ‘Favourite Place’ is more convincing but All Time Low are better served sticking to their own guns on ‘Safe’, a demonstration of a band that’s honed their songwriting to a precise art over the past decade. 

‘Clumsy’ summons the angst of their early work before ‘Basement Noise’ closes the album with a nostalgic look at those first rehearsals in their parents’ houses. All Time Low are back to doing what they do best, serving up nuggets of light-hearted pop-punk that rank as ‘parasitic’ on the ear-worm scale. While there’s a non-zero amount of filler here, it’s outweighed by a number of killer tunes that (when we’re finally allowed back out to gigs) will bolster their already swollen setlist of bonafide bangers. 

Wake Up Sunshine is released on 3 April 2020 via Fueled By Ramen. 

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