With their sixth album, it seems that Baltimore’s All Time Low have outgrown the label of ”pop-punk” somewhat. ‘Future Hearts’ is their most mature album to date and stretches the confines of the band’s previous style whilst not completely abandoning it.
Despite breaking fresh ground ‘Future Hearts’ is unlikely to disappoint longstanding All Time Low fans, but should still see them reach out to some new ones. Being constantly compared to Blink-182 and Green Day must get boring, so it’s a relief to see that there is more to All Time Low than angsty, high energy, pop-punk after all. Citing references including The Clash and Sia, ‘Future Hearts’ sees the band stretch themselves across a broad musical spectrum in an impressive showcase of strong songwriting ability.
All Time Low have been together since 2003, and it hasn’t been an easy journey or a quick road to success. Nearly twelve years after their inception the four piece have only recently started getting the recognition they deserve, and they started out 2015 by performing in a sold out Wembley Arena in March.
After 2011’s ‘Dirty Work’, which split opinions amongst fans and critics (and the band) alike, 2012’s ‘Don’t Panic!’ quickly returned to All Time Low’s straight-up pop punk roots, to in some ways, regain the trust of fans again.
Fan-trust regained, ‘Future Hearts’ sees the band once more experimenting outside their comfort zone. Fortunately this time the experiment can be declared an overriding success. While guest appearances from pop-punk giants Mark Hoppus (Tidal Waves) and Benji Madden (Bail Me Out) lend some familiar sounds, overall there is a much more dynamic approach taken on ‘Future Hearts’. The upbeat rebelliousness gives way to a necessary slower pace on Missing You – a positive song reaching out to someone who is feeling lost in the world. The album as a whole has a running theme of being outsiders. Kids in the Dark, the second single to be released, follows suit with an anthem tailored for their live concerts. Dancing with a Wolf, with bitter lyrics and drum-driven sound, makes for a stand out song on the album.
All in all, ‘Future Hearts’ is still All Time Low as we know them, but there’s also a more approachable and radio friendly side to them now, and not in a bad way. From start to finish there are (good) surprises for old fans, and plenty of elements to make new fans stick around.
‘Future Hearts’ has opened up a whole new world for All Time Low. With their first ever UK number one now under their belts, it’s a sign of big things to come.