by Jack Diablo
Album: The Get Up Kids – There Are Rules (Standard and Deluxe CD and LP)
Label: Quality Hill Records
Release Date: January 25, 2011
Cheer up, emo kids! Your music is dead but the bands you used to love aren’t ready to go without a fight just yet. Midwestern Emo pioneers Get Up Kids released their fifth studio album this year and are touring the US right now with two back-to-back shows planned in Orlando this month.
There Are Rules is the second release from the Get Up Kids since reforming in 2008. And while it certainly isn’t the mid-90s emo you may or may not have grown up with, it maintains a youthful playfulness while being a more mature record than some of their previous works. It’s far less Saves the Day or Taking Back Sunday than 1999’s Something to Write Home About, leaning more towards danceable post-punk and indie rock. The departure is not a surprising one though coming from a band that publicly apologized for influencing the generation of fashion-focused Hot Topic rats that followed them. Wanting to polish your image and getting your record label to sign off on diverging from a winning formula are two different things. The Get Up Kids went so far as to leave the comfort of well-established Vagrant Records for their own independent start-up label, Quality Hill Records, named for a historical Kansas City neighborhood. The move was a calculated one, intended to simultaneously open the band up to new possibilities and bring them back to their DIY roots.
The effects on the album are not what you might expect from a band like Get Up Kids, but they do well to help shake that poppy image. Which isn’t to say that the Kids haven’t kept certain elements such as vocal style intact. They’ve also preserved their relationship with producer Ed Rose who has worked with everyone from Kurt Cobain to Coalesce to Motion City Soundtrack. For recording duties they turned to the man who recorded their first demo, Bob Weston of Shellac.
Even if you turned your back on emo years ago or hated it all along, you shouldn’t let that prevent you from giving There Are Rules a chance to impress you. Catch them live at the Social in Orlando February 23rd and 24th with Miniature Tigers and Brian Bonz.