Album Review: All Time Low – Future Hearts

Pop punk has never been stronger and more relevant than in the hands of All Time Low. With menace, contemplation and energy in equal measure, ‘Future Hearts’ is the accumulation of 12 invaluable years at the height of their game.

Selling out a headliner at Wembley Arena is no mean feat, yet All Time Low have taken it in their stride, continuing to prove their fans’ loyalty isn’t misplaced by pouring every ounce of talent into their sixth full-length record. By no means a departure from their past releases, ‘Future Hearts’ is the product of experience, maturity and perfecting their own brand. The ride up to this day has been a wild one, but the fans have held on tight, and this is the reward.

“We were just kids”, cries vocalist Alex Gaskarth through the swaying and empowering ‘Satellite’, re-establishing ATL’s streak of subdued youth anthems. Lead single ‘Something’s Gotta Give’ presents a rare outing of punk realism amid rousing stomps and piano interceptions. Coinciding with pop punk relative Fall Out Boy’s recent turn for the defiant, closer ‘Old Scars/Future Hearts’ suggests All Time Low have no intention of turning around. The fame and hype hasn’t affected their ability to pass on a message to the youth of today.

On the other hand, the optimistic vitality of ‘Kicking And Screaming’ and ‘Runaways’ punches its way through in equal measure. Energetic and punchy with enough gang vocals to fill an arena all by itself, the cinematic ‘Don’t You Go’ has pure pop punk coursing through its veins. Barakat’s incredible fretwork and Merrick’s storming rhythms hold together both ‘Kicking And Screaming’ and ‘Kids In The Dark’ proving the music is still of paramount importance to the reigning pop punk monarchs.

The record’s compulsory acoustic comes in the form of ‘Missing You’, where Gaskarth’s raw expressive talent shines through every note. “Make no mistake, the day will come when you can’t cover up what you’ve done” is about as passive-aggressive as you’ve heard ATL up to now, but there’s more. The unfettered menace of ‘Dancing With A Wolf’ puts their soft-hearted demeanour aside for a brief moral condemnation of deceit, begging the question “who’s gonna listen when you run out of lies?” A threatening facet to All Time Low, at last!

The record’s two guest slots prove testament to the band’s indomitable progress in their genre to date, featuring the two pop punk vocalists time would be foolish to forget. Mark Hoppus’ contemplative vocals add an unrivalled dimension of solemnity to the heartfelt ‘Tidal Waves’, while in contrast, Good Charlotte’s Joel Madden presents a catchy vocal playoff with Gaskarth throughout the infectious escapism of ‘Bail Me Out’.

All Time Low have come a long way to headlining a sold-out Wembley Arena and ‘Future Hearts’ is the result of years of resounding success. While there’s no groundbreaking transitions into new realms, there’s an evident drive toward their future, and it’s set to be bright.

4.5/5

‘Future Hearts’ by All Time Low is out now on Hopeless Records.

All Time Low links: Website|Facebook|Twitter

Words by Ali Cooper (@AliZombie_)

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