The All-American Rejects
It was at the turn of the millennium that the invasion happened. No, not aliens, as some seemed to be prophesising, but this was when American punk rock gathered momentum and launched its assault on British minds. Their ranks included Sum 41, New Found Glory, American Hi-fi, and at the head of the movement jesters Blink 182. Fast-forward a few years to the Carling Festival 2003 and Blink were one-but-headlining the Main Stage â the masses had been assimilated. Also on the bill that weekend was Oklahoma four-piece The All-American Rejects, who had a breakthrough hit with "Swing, Swing", but couldn't capitalise on that exposure. Perhaps surprisingly, they're still around.
The first single to be lifted from the band's second record "Move Along" is "Dirty Little Secret", a standard punk pop track with a catchy melody that will no doubt be a teen anthem. If this to your liking, there's plenty more in the shape of "Stab My Back" and "Change Your Mind". Tyson Ritter's voice is whiney like most singers of the genre, which does nothing to help the likes of "11:11 PM" and "I'm Waiting", both of which pass by without making any sort of impression. Before it sounds like the album is being dismissed as punk rock by numbers, and this is said grudgingly, the remainder of the record is actually pretty good.
The title track opens as a quirky number and has a big dynamic chorus to get crowd bouncing, all being held together by a tight rhythm section. Then all goes quietâ¦ and the kid's choir comes in, backed by piano. It's a bit cheesy and goes on a little too long, but is a decent track. "It Ends Tonight" goes down the road of big emo-ballad, with crunching guitars, a swooning string section, and lighters being waved in the air. Sure, the vocals might be a little OTT, but not to the point of spoiling the song. TA-AR also offer a cracking rocker in the shape of "Top Of The World", a full-velocity storm that carries you along gleefully, and the exact opposite of "Can't Take It." The album closes without a hint of guitar or drums, instead utilising an atmospheric orchestra to great effect. As well as being a surprisingly wonderful conclusion, it perhaps signals that The 'Rejects are more than just another easily-dismissed punk band.
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