‘Don’t Panic’ makes more noise than melody
After releasing Don’t Panic in early October, All Time Low created a mess with their music while attempting to blend the sounds of their previous albums.
The band released two albums in less than a year and half with Dirty Work coming out in June 2011. However, Panic provides listeners with a much different vibe than Dirty Work that just does not work.
Lead guitarist Jack Barakat introduces the album with his choppy guitar in “Reckless and the Brave.” While the sound holds much of the same riffs and rhythm from previous albums, nothing makes the song stand out.
Jump starting the album, second track “Backseat Serenade” contains a heavier amount of instrumentation and completely eliminates the pop element. The lyrics tell a story of a failed relationship, and lead singer Alex Gaskarth and Barakat sing about the disappointment when the songs says, “Backseat serenade, dizzy hurricane. I am so sick of sleeping alone.”
The band continues with the fast-paced sound in the third track, “If These Sheets Were States.” While the melody does not vary from the second track, the song is improved lyrically using witty metaphors about long-distance relationships. The chorus is the best part, when Gaskarth sings, “If these sheets were the states, and you were miles away, I’d fold them end over end to bring you closer to me.”
However, the climax of the album is reached quickly as the best track “Somewhere in Neverland” takes the fourth slot. The song digs back into the band’s roots, sounding like a track from their earliest two albums Put Up or Shut Up and So Wrong, It’s Right. The punkish undertones and Peter Pan theme gives the album the extra boost it needed.
Not only is the song well crafted musically, the lyrics of “Somewhere in Neverland” are memorable.Gaskrath takes listeners on a journey to Neverland and intertwines the childhood story with a romantic twist when he sings, “Wendy run away with me. I know I sound crazy, don’t you see what you do to me. I want to be a lost boy, the last chance a better reality.”
The album leads into track five with “So Long, Soldier” with heavy electric guitar instrumentation and intense drum rhythm. The song is a little reminiscent of the sounds from Nothing Personal. While the tone of the song is not bad, the lyrics are mediocre at best with no central meaning.
Thankfully, the album picks up back up the “The Irony of Choking on a Lifesaver.” The punk angst found most prevalently on Dirty Work is easy to hear in the lyrics with explicit examples of a relationship going horribly wrong. Gaskarth lets listeners know how intense the situation is with the lyrics, “You’re the brake lines failing as my car, swerves off the freeway. Why can’t you just be happy for me?”
The album slows down considerably with “To Live and Let Go” and “Outlines.” The band tries to intertwine the pop theme and guitar distortion from Nothing Personal. While both don’t stick out as hot tracks on the album, “Outlines” is better lyrically, as the band finally gets more poetic with its wording and stops focusing on relationships.
Tracks nine and 10 don’t get much better with “Thanks to You” and “For Baltimore.” Even though “For Baltimore” was released in late August, the song is not the band’s best. “Baltimore” does have some redeeming qualities, as it has a slow acoustic feel in the first few notes but transitions quickly into fast-paced rock beats.
The two tracks that bring up the rear on the album “Paint You Wings” and “So Long, Thanks For All The Booze” sound very similar in the melody and vary little in lyrical content. However, “Paint You Wings” outranks the last track especially when the song begins with, “When will the princess figure it out, she ain’t worth saving.”
Don’t Panic isn’t worth scrounging for pennies. All Time Low rushed the album, causing compromised lyrics and a redundant sound. Keep your money and just add this album to your Spotify library. That’s all it’s worth.