Such is All Time Low‘s juggernaut level of popularity that is seems impossible to think that there was a time where the band were playing pop punk numbers to academy sized venues, but it happened. Subsequently, due to ATL’s ability to write a chorus you can’t help but sing along to – the last 5 years has seen the quartet’s star continue to rise to a height that not too many would have predicted possible.
If previous outings ‘Future Hearts’ and ‘Don’t Panic’ showed signs that All Time Low were ready to ditch their pop punk roots in favour of a more radio-friendly, pop vibed assault on the charts; then new album Last Young Renegade is the obligatory confirmation that ATL are as far from a pop punk band as possible.
While musically, the transition has seen a lot of the Maryland crew’s identity and charm being lost, there’s still a decent chunk of the record that comes across with effort and power – mostly down to the ever pleasant vocals of Alex Gaskarth.
As ready for radio as the next Justin Bieber album, Last Young Renegade is crystal clean, phenomenally produced and does its absolute best to not offend anyone, to the point where a large majority of the record has a bland taste. But songs such as the title track and ‘Dirty Laundry’ at least hold an emphatic chorus within them, giving the tracks enough hook to make them an enjoyable listen.
It’s ‘Life Of The Party’ and ‘Ground Control’ where long-time fans of the band will find it hard not to turn away, the tech-inspired spiffs that leach throughout just don’t fit ATL, and while expansion and risk taking can be vital to a bands life cycle – these are bad examples of how it should be done.
Last Young Renegade is an album which holds few highlights, and while All Time Low’s star is likely to continue ascending due to the pop-style influence that burns throughout the record, it’s equally the quartets most wooden, predictable effort to date. While what the record lacks in character it makes up for in hook – it’s never enough to put the album in the same echelon as some of ATL’s better efforts such as ‘So Wrong It’s Right’. The pop rock version of All Time Low looks here to stay, for better or worse.