When I think of The All-American Rejects, a few very specific things come to mind. Mainly I think of middle school, shopping at Hot Topic (hush, we’ve all done it) and watching music videos all day on Fuse. I think of a very specific time in my life; and the reason hearing the band’s name conjures up all these nostalgic images is probably because those things were taking place for me at a time when The All-American Rejects were topping the charts. And rightly so! At the time, the band’s second studio album, Move Along, was all over the radio waves and played nonstop on the music networks. And though, I will admit, I haven’t stayed up to date with the band’s work since that time, I will always regard The All-American Rejects as a type of relic of my late childhood. So, when I was asked to do this review, I was excited about it. And in the end I was delighted to find that, just as I have matured and changed since 2005, so has the band! Kids In The Street is an example of the change that comes with time, and serves to prove that The All-American Rejects will definitely get better and better with age.
Without a doubt, this record exhibits a much wider sphere of influence for the band. It seems to call on many differing areas of rock n’ roll, which is especially inspiring for a pop-rock release such as this one. The sounds of ninety’s garage, 60s style rock, and even ska are all present on the record, with some songs resembling the work of bands such as Jet and All Time Low. Fans of the pop punk set will revel in the gang vocals and clap-beat sections, and fans of indie rock will enjoy the much more dynamic use of Nick Wheeler’s guitar skills. Additionally, the band has made use of many cute musical accents, such as the sample of a elementary school style recorder being played at the end of “Beekeeper’s Daughter“. It is the use of little quirks like this that give the record more depth.
Perhaps what is most noticeable about Kids In The Street is vocalist Tyson Ritter’s voice. Not only has Ritter’s voice matured, but he has also learned to make what is, in my opinion, better use of it. Ritter often jumps flawlessly from a sweet and smooth croon to an almost mocking, snotty tone within the same song. and his voice is clear with good vocal range. Stand out tracks include “Gonzo“, which begins with an absolutely lovely soundscape, and “Affection“, which is a delicious, vintage-inspired song that is all together sweet and full of attitude. The opening track, “Someday’s Gone“, is radio ready and fun, and title track “Kids In The Street” is immediately catchy, making great use of synth riffs and nostalgic imagery.
Listening to this album, the thing that jumped out at me most was the realization that The All-American Rejects are a smart band. They are most definitely good at staying current, and know how to write a record that is appealing to their to immediate demographic without sacrificing style or intelligence. The bands use of many musical influences on Kids In The Street make it a diverse, interesting album that produced both a nostalgic, dreamy sense and and up-to-date, fresh sound for me. I recommend it to fans both old and new!