Pop Addict: The Get Up Kids’ There Are Rules

Every Thursday, Pop Addict presents infectious tunes from contemporary musicians across indie rock, pop, folk, electronica, and more.

The Get Up Kids: There Are Rules

The Get Up Kids: There Are Rules (Quality Hill, 1/25/11)

The Get Up Kids: “Regent’s Court”

[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/the-get-up-kids-regents-court_2010-11-30-181223-4137-0-0-0.128.mp3|titles=The Get Up Kids: “Regent’s Court”]

Seven years removed from Guilt Show, the album that marked the end of The Get Up Kids, the popular emo rockers will release their fifth full-length, There Are Rules, on January 25, 2011 via its own label, Quality Hill Records.

The Kansas City five-piece, which had been disbanded since 2005, returned to the studio in 2009 following a series of rehearsals to promote the tenth-anniversary tour of Something to Write Home About.

Recorded at long-time producer Ed Rose’s Blacklodge Recording studio in Eudora, Kansas, and mastered by Chicago’s Bob Weston (Shellac) — who recorded Four Minute Mile in 1997 — the album sprouted from the release of Simple Science, a four-track EP that was meant to serve as the first of three vinyl EPs in 2010.

Instead, the band pulled together the remaining tracks and, with the addition of new material, released a full-length record.

There Are Rules, in many ways, is a return to the band’s DIY roots.  It has retained the services of former producers; it was recorded using analog two-inch tape; and the band parted amicably with Vagrant Records in order to self-distribute this album, something that it hasn’t done since the Shorty seven-inch.

Initially, the music feels just as retrospective. The band’s loud and fast guitars are a kickback to the early days of Woodson and Something to Write Home About. The same can be said for Matt Pryor’s distinctive voice, which, despite his age, sounds just as angst-ridden as it did in 1997.

However, that’s where the similarities end. There Are Rules, surprisingly, feels more like a pop record than an early Get Up Kids record. The band has pushed its love of melody and hook-laden guitar work to a point that is a bit harder to classify.

James Dewees’ keyboards are cranked from track to track, sometimes overshadowing the guitar riffs that were the driving force of former releases. Rob Pope’s bass feels bouncier and less encumbered, given the album’s looser rhythms. And Ryan Pope’s drumming is slightly more adventurous with the addition of programmed beats (and bells and whistles) on a number of tracks.

On “Shatter Your Lung” — perhaps the most glaring departure from what most would classify as the classic Get Up Kids sound — the thick, pulsing bass line and brief, ’80s-style breakdown feel unlike anything that the band has ever recorded.

There Are Rules is a loose, adventurous record that proves, if nothing else, that The Get Up Kids isn’t content to regurgitate older, more familiar material. The record feels simultaneously old and new, comforting and curious, and proves that the band — no longer 18-year-old emo kids from the Midwest — still has plenty of fuel in its tank.

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