All Time Low – Dirty Work – Review

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It’s a generally accepted notion that no one needs to explain why All Time Low has become so popular and influential over the last few years, for better or for worse. These four pop-rockers from Baltimore, MD quickly came on to the scene and a few dozen catchy hits and chart-topping albums later, we have ATL’s fourth full length, major label-debut, “Dirty Work.” And while some consider the bands hay-days to have already come and gone with their EP “Put Up Or Shut Up” and sophomore “So Wrong, It’s Right” sharing the most of the glory, many have had nothing but pleasant things to say about the bands recent full-lengths. I guess we’ll see how far the rabbit hole goes.

Like many others I had come to believe, over time, that All Time Low had fallen under the enticing allure of writing music that hooked listeners in with catchy beats, but provided no real substance to those looking for purpose driven pop-rock. “Nothing Personal,” their iTunes-exclusive live EP, and a recently released DVD “Straight To DVD,” all seemed like uninspired cash-ins — a far cry from their meaningful, girl/love-centered, humble beginnings. After a few rotations though, it was clear “Dirty Work” was haphazardly walking the line between the bands past and present. On one hand you have the cheap theatrics and “Pour Some Sugar On Me” riff structure of “I Feel Like Dancin’” and the Motion City Soundtrack-inspired, bandwagon effects-ridden aspects of “Forget About It” — but then you have tracks like the touching sing-a-long acoustic song “A Daydream Away” and the flawless, melodic pop rock track “Guts” which keep the album afloat.

This isn’t to say that the guys in All Time Low aren’t talented or can’t make compelling music (because they can and have), but similarities to and mimicry of prominent bands ::ahem:: The Maine, Fall Out Boy, Mayday Parade ::ahem:: (some who even list ATL as an influence) have halted the bands signature sound on most, if not all, of this albums twelve tracks. Not helping at all is the musical chairs played with the production, where around six producers, from veteran Matt Squire to the random selection, R&B wizard The Dream, have been choosen. So now what we are left with are pop-rock gems that feel like they were made in a factory at the hands of an algorithmic program on a computer. —> (Make Perfect Catchy Song) (Insert Bubble Gum Rock) (Insert Perfect Gaskarth Vocals) (Add A Dash Of Guitar Melody) (Commence Girl Swoon). —//. See? Easy as that.

In that way, “Dirty Work” continues All Time Low‘s impeccable ability to make music that stays around in your head for days on end. Yes, your girlfriend will burn this CD for her car and claim its a wonderful Summer album, but you will know the truth, that all the hype and mimicry has pretty much gotten to these guy’s heads and ATL finally sounds like everyone else. [Staff]

Score: 3 (out of 5)

Release Date: June 7th, 2011
Record Label: Interscope Records
Genre: Pop-Rock

RIYL: The Maine, Fall Out Boy, The Summer Set

Track Listing:
1. Do You Want Me (Dead?)
2. I Feel Like Dancin’
3. Forget About It
4. Guts
5. Time Bomb
6. Just the Way I’m Not
7. Under a Paper Moon
8. Return the Favor
9. No Idea
10. A Daydream Away
11. That Girl
12. Heroes

This video would be funny if the “Method: 3″ didn’t reflect this whole album.

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