ALBUM REVIEW: All Time Low – Tell Me I’m Alive | XS Noize

The ninth album from the pop-punk legends sees the band reach for mainstream stardom. All Time Low formed twenty years ago this year. In that time they have ridden the pop-punk wave seeing it become a tsunami and also barely a murmur. In that time they have bounced along with a string of solid albums and have an arena-sized fandom who will follow them across the globe.

On Tell Me I’m Alive they have gone for the jugular. The title track and opening song is a spot-on introduction to what you’re going to get throughout the record. It wears its influences on its sleeve (hello American Idiot) it is catchy, poppy and fun. As is ‘Modern Love’ a song that starts like it belongs in a Disney musical but builds into a song about the struggles of dating in the modern age, the band are really aiming to appeal to the converted here.

Frontman Alex Gaskarth is a superb vocalist, there are some wonderful harmonies on tracks like ‘Are You There?’ and the single ‘Sleepwalking’ which almost leans into The Weeknd territory but decides to hold back on that which is a shame, this far into their career All Time Low could take a chance or two surely?

‘Calm Down’ and English Blood, American Heartache’ follow, both songs hit that pop-punk sweet spot, and it definitely feels like the band is leaning back into their previous records on these tracks. Gaskarth has stated that “Everything on this record is deeply personal and it all comes from these themes that are in me” and there’s a real grown-up feel to his lyrics on this record, it feels deep, personal and honest.

‘New Religion’is undoubtedly the most radio-friendly unit shifter on the album. I’m amazed it wasn’t or hasn’t been released as a single. It bounces around in with a wonderful dance floor groove, All Time Low are having fun ladies and gents.

The rest of the record rolls along with a pretty standard formula, a few killer hooks, sing-a-long choruses and a cheeky wink to the aforementioned influences. Sonically there is some pop fusion in the sounds they make, it feels at times that they could have gone a little darker, a little harder. ‘Kill Your Vibe’ sounds like we’re driving down the freeway with the top down, it is a proper summer song and one that would go down a storm if played live, it even has the lighters in the air middle eight moments, perfect.

At this stage of their career, the band are completely comfortable in their own skin. They know what they want and most importantly they know what their fans want, what their fans want to hear. They want pop hooks, they want to be able to sing along with their idols and to get lost in the record. It doesn’t need to be big or clever, it just needs to be open and fun. The rush of blood is music to their veins. This deep into their career the band deliver the goods, sometimes an album doesn’t need to be dissected it just needs to be enjoyed, so I advise you to do just that. Enjoy.

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