Get Out Kids

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The Spectrum

Artist: The Get Up Kids

Album: There Are Rules

Label: Quality Hill Records

Release Date: Jan. 25

Grade: C

It's very interesting to hear the new product of a band that is sorry for the scene it helped create. For the rockers The Get Up Kids, that scene was emo, and you can hear the remorse throughout their fifth studio album, There Are Rules.

The Get Up Kids do not ditch the fusion of emo and punk on their new album, but they certainly seem to be striving for a new way for those two elements to sound together. They succeed in recovering a punk snarl in a musical category that largely gave it up for emotional vulnerability on the rocking opener "Tithe."

Another highlight is "Shatter Your Lung," which again demonstrates a fun, unmistakable punk sound, but stands out from most modern examples of the genre. It is pleasing and feels effortless, giving a real glimpse into the possible future of the band's direction.

Several of these attempts, however, are not quite as successful. "Automatic" is a very simple and generic-sounding song that only gets points for not being entirely bad. Other songs on the album try to attain a dystopian bleakness, completely at odds with the more happily energetic tunes.

Pulsing synths and electronics are featured everywhere, but in these darker moments, they are used in a way slightly evocative of Radiohead. Sadly, these moments don't ever sound like anything more than an attempt, but they do remain a point of interest. "Rally Round the Fool" and "The Widow Paris" represent this dark and uncomfortable Get Up Kids.

Being dynamic, and in the case of the Get Up Kids, apologetic, is no bad point for any band. Though the album's general blandness prevents most of the songs from being truly successful re-imaginings of a played-out genre, the spirit of their creators is remarkable. Consider it still a point of interest that 15-plus years into their career, The Get Up Kids still don't know what they want to sound like.

E-mail: arts@ubspectrum.com