Though it's likely that your heart will flock towards their 2009 breakout record Nothing Personal when discussing Baltimore pop punk sensations All Time Low, the truth is, they quickly moved forward to chase something broader. The late 2000's saw outfits like themselves, You Me At Six, Forever The Sickest Kids, and We The Kings vying for the crowning spotlight in a saturated genre - All Time Low would go on to outgrow most of their peers exponentially.
This was down to a variety of factors, from online presence to the stage charisma of guitarist/vocalist Alex Gaskarth, and Jack Barakat. But more so than anything else: the quartets transition from pop punk layabouts to pop rock phenomenons has been the most seamless.
New record Wake Up, Sunshine follows in the footpath set for it by its predecessors - this is a well refined presentation of accessible, chorus-lead rock. As you'd expect, there's little here in the form of challenge, expansion, or song-writing ingenuity, instead this is an album of A-Typical sweet hooks from Gaskarth and co. Album opener 'Some Kind Of Disaster' offers the kind of moments where you understand All Time Low's mammoth size: a heart filled chorus tightly bellowed over by Gaskarth, it's the kind of effort that would fit effortlessly anywhere on the bands discography timeline.
Then there's the latter one-two of 'Clumsy' and 'Glitter & Crimson' that although strip back rock to its lowest common denominator, are inescapably fitting for what the band are trying pull off here. Ballads that meet a climactic end have always been a forte' of All Time Low, and this is the closest the quartet have ever come to reaching the rock opera semblance of American Idiot.
At times though you get a sense that you could almost split Wake Up, Sunshine into two parts: one can be taken as a light but at least serious attempt at mainstream pop rock, the other feels lost in translation. The clumsy lyrics of 'Sleeping In' are meant to be taken with a pinch of salt, but still feel like an immature, unnecessary throwback to the quartets yesteryear cries of metaphorical relationship failures.
'Monsters' seems like another track fit to automatically translate to All Time Low's current fan base until the jarring hip hop beats of guest vocalist blackbear come to fruition, while 'Trouble Is' lacks both the attitude of pop punk and the hook of a pop chorus. Even for a record that is perfectly set up to be aimed at easy listening - Wake Up, Sunshine can get overtly comfortable at times.
Eight records in, All Time Low's star is cemented on the pop punk walk of fame - even if musically they haven't had much to do with the genre for six years. Wake Up, Sunshine offers sparks of both clarity, and real populace quality that makes the bands ascension seem like simple math, and while some might scoff at how broad their target audience has become, All Time Low still have a banger or two up their sleeves.