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Album Review: ALL TIME LOW - Wake Up, Sunshine

Artist: All Time Low

Album: Wake Up, Sunshine

Genre: Pop-Punk

Review by Ash Wallace

April is host to a plethora of new album releases and adding to the mix is All Time Low’s “Wake Up Sunshine” available everywhere on April 3 via Fueled By Ramen. The band have stated they've taken time to grow and do some soul searching and the end result is “Wake Up Sunshine”. The 15-track record follows 2017 release “Last Young Renegades” and features the likes of The Band CAMINO and Blackbear with singles Sleeping In, Some Kind Of Disaster, Getaway Green and Melancholy Kaleidoscope already released. 

The four found themselves back to their roots, recording the album together under one roof to which vocalist Alex Gaskarth attributes as a central theme of the album. It all began with cryptic teasers and clips hinting at a new era of All Time Low, leading fans to theorize and put together the different pieces, but finally in February the band announced a new album would be on the horizon and now we don’t have much longer to wait.

The album starts off with Some Kind Of Disaster, a raw and reflective track. Growing up you get to certain ages where everything hits you all at once and your forced to deal with memories of past mistakes, so you reflect or reminisce and I think this track really brings this concept to life. Also drawing parallels with the notion that we are our own worst critic and that love lies within people’s values and not their faults, giving a soft and sweet undertone to the track. The muted chords were a little generic but Zak Merrick’s bass groove pulled me back in. For track 2, Sleeping In, we’re transported back to that 2010’s puppy love pop punk sound with an irresistible chorus, fast guitars and a refined, more mature sound. I also think one of the messages in the music video specifically is that you don't need romantic relationships to be happy and the world won’t fall apart if your romantic relationships do. Like many of the tracks on this record, Getaway Green is very reminiscent of early work, very classic All Time Low. Amidst the global pandemic and feeling the effects of the inescapable blues, Getaway Green is the perfect song to lift your spirits with. Super summery, drive with the windows down kind of track with energetic guitar licks and sing-a-long-able melodies.

Next, we go into the moody Melancholy Kaleidoscope with a more than infectious introductive guitar riff, playful nature of Trouble Is and Wake Up, Sunshine which is jam packed full of anathematic riffs and lively instrumental arrangements.

At first, I thought it was questionable to bring Blackbear, a hip hop recording artist onto a pop punk All Time Low track. It is a slightly different pace and Blackbear’s verse seems like it came out of nowhere but after a few listens it didn’t matter too much as the pop-y drums and melodic bass lines held the track together. Pretty Venom (Interlude) is a nice mellow track. The soft guitar strumming and defeated sounding vocal strides from Gaskarth dims the mood of the album a little but brings it right back up with Favourite Place ft. The Band CAMINO, an upbeat and hopeful track touching on vulnerability and a melancholy nostalgia or longing.

Now going into Safe with surging guitars is a solitary journey of chasing safety and then poses gloomy reminiscence with January Gloom, reaching out a metaphorical hand; “save me from this January gloom.” It did lack some bass which I thought would have spruced the track up a bit more.

After this point, the tracks sort of melded together, the initial shine and intrigue of the album starts to fade, not saying these final tracks are bad, but those with low attention spans may have trouble listening all the way through the first time like me. Clumsy is fun and mischievous sonically but lyrically, recollected the ups and downs of love. Glitter & Crimson is another acoustic based track, leading with full bass, catchy drum beats and subdued vocals layered over it. The bridge explodes with emotion and electric guitar riffs as it continues into Summer Daze. Another thematic song, brewing rock n roll riffs and finally ending with Basement Noise, a sombre closing of the album.

The boys from Baltimore sure know how to write catchy hooks and riffs and hit us right in the feels for the most part, but evolving over the years has seen a natural progression of maturity and refinery in how they deliver their music. 2017 release of “Last Young Renegades” was slightly disappointing with the overarching wish washy tone and its lack of strength but now it seems they’ve found their footing again with “Wake Up, Sunshine.” As the live music and entertainment world turns tumultuous, All Time Low still plan to release the album and bring some light to the darker days and have scheduled online events for fans to tune into.

"Wake Up, Sunshine" is available worldwide April 3 via Fueled By Ramen with pre-orders available here https://fbr.lnk.to/wakeupsunshine

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