Oklahoma, USA’s The All-American Rejects come pretty close to sounding how Weezer would if you took away their books and made them watch happy hour TV all day. Relationship-fixated lyrics and saccharine melodies with a formulaic backdrop of production-line guitar noise are very much the order of the day.
So far, so Something Corporate. But sorta bizarrely it’s frontman Tyson Ritter’s over-ambitious vocal parts, often leaving him struggling to reach the high notes, that prove endearing after a few listens. There’s no mistaking the guy’s knack for a great hook, either. The first four tracks on their eponymous debut are all catchy as hell. Inevitably the quality nose-dives somewhat thereafter.
Trouble is, for every peak – the excellent single ‘Swing, Swing’ and the swooning pop of ‘Time Stands Still’ – there’s a couple of generic troughs on either side. For example, check out the cringe-inducing lyrics on offer (“Please stay, don’t go away/The hardest thing is letting go of you” – ‘One More Sad Song’) and the horrid drum machine that pops up here on the majority of tracks.
Crucially there’s just enough catchy pop fun to be had to save the album from the end of summer bargain bins. True, it’s never gonna change anyone’s life, but there’s enough good old-fashioned tunecraft on offer to appeal to those who like their bands to be radio-friendly and easy on the grey matter.
6Tom Edwards's Score