Published Apr 02, 2015Baltimore quartet All Time Low have attempted to create a memorable collection of pop-rock anthems with their latest LP Future Hearts, and they've done an admirable job. The band's strongest feature is the vocals of Alex Gaskarth, and the album does an exemplary job putting his powerful vocal hooks front and centre. Gaskarth's range is demonstrated on songs like "Kicking and Screaming," in which he fluidly shifts from a warmer, mellow tone in verses to a raspier, grittier voice for the high notes hit near the end of the track.
The album switches gears occasionally, going from lively pop tunes to downtempo ballads, incorporating electronic elements on songs like "The Edge of Tonight" or the Mark Hoppus-assisted "Tidal Waves." Unfortunately, these songs come off as either monotonous due to their repetitive structure or so over-the-top sweet that they feel like a caricature of the genre.
At it's worst, the unashamedly formulaic nature of most of these songs, and the saturation of pop-production clichés such as the "woah-ohs" that seem to appear in every other track along with other gimmicky, overused techniques make this album tedious at times. Throughout the album, there are brief moments where the band let loose, and their ability to write far punchier songs becomes apparent, but many tracks on this album — especially towards the second half — are overproduced to the point that even the highlights are overshadowed.
Still, this record accomplishes what it sets out to do, engaging the listener with indisputably catchy moments, if a little inconsistently, throughout. (Hopeless)