Wednesday, October 23, 2013
The Get Up Kids There Are Rules Quality Hill Records 2010
Yeah, outside of the first 7" this band put out, this is the only thing I've ever paid for by the Get Up Kids. Not that it matters, I just wish I had bought more because members weren't always around to give me free shit back in the day and I have some holes I'd still like to fill.
Truthfully, I bought this album, listened to it once, and shelved it. Threw it aside as the band attempting to be something they weren't. I listened to to the album, waiting for Jimmy Suptic to do a pick slide and Matt Pryor to yelp about a girl and it never happened. It's filled with a lot of electronic accompaniment and finds the band going to the early DC scene that was the epitome of cool when they first started. It felt like they were trying to be angry which doesn't suit the band.
Then, as something to throw on for a quick fix I started spinning the 10" that came out previous to this LP, Simple Science. And, while I still scoff at the use of a William Burroughs sample every time I play it, I've started to enjoy the four tracks it offers up. So, next logical step, give There Are Rules another try.
After giving it another try, it's pretty fucking good. It doesn't sound like the Get Up Kids, though. But, had another band produced something similar to this, it would have been met with rave reviews. Instead, it gave another reason for Pitchfork to call Kansas City boring and blast the Kids at least one more time. But, hey, There Are Rules review does say the hatred the band got within the indie-community was a bit over the top. Which might be a failed attempt to apologize because anyone can read the previous Pitchfork reviews and realize Pitchfork was the the ring leader and trendsetter for Get Up Kids bashing.
Moving along, there are some great ideas here and an amazing Side 1. Again, I stress it sounds nothing like the Get Up Kids, but it's good. To go in order, "Tithe" and "Regen't Court" go back to the Fuguazi/DC sound the band discovered in high school. "Shatter Your Lungs" is a brilliant little post-modern pop song. "Automatic" and "Pararelevant" are high energy. "Rally Round the Fool" is probably the weakest of side 1, mid tempo, experimental-ism that uses echo effects and programmed beats because Portishead apparently is still cool. Side 2, not quite as strong, but has it's moments as well. "Better Lie" starts with it's Strokes-esque vocal effect to get Pryor's voice down an octave so the band can be a bit darker. "Keith Case" is featured on the Simple Science EP and features about the only chorus that resembles something you'd find on previous work. "The Widow Paris" feels a bit programmed, a bit 80's goth, not executed as good as it could have been. The band throws a nod to the early British post-punk scene with "Birmingham" before things get a bit wishy-washy with the sentimental tackiness of "When It Dies." The album ends with "Rememorable," which is a stupid ending song title but, it's got a lot of crunchy guitars so it's enjoyable.
Overall, it's an album filled with all the influences they felt they couldn't touch as Get Up Kids Mach I. Their previous success pigeonholed them to a specific sound. Their career took them all over the world where they discovered albums, bands, influences that were previously off limits. I mean crap, Pyror had to create the New Amsterdams after discovering Elvis Costello, it had no room in the Get Up Kids sound. The Pope brothers did rhythm for Koufax just to sound retro. In the end, it doesn't sound like a band trying to reestablish a career, it sounds like a band finally allowed to get some things off their chest, a one last hurrah type event.
Shatter Your Lungs