Music

The Get Up Kids Return... Again with 'Kicker'

Photo: Dalton Paley

The Get Up Kids are searching for an elusive position, that nostalgic allure of their previous glory on new EP, Kicker.

Kicker
The Get Up Kids

Polyvinyl

8 June 2018

Don't call it a comeback, or do. It kind of is. Whatever. Either way the Get Up Kids, a figurehead of early aughts emo wave have returned with their first release in seven years, the Kicker EP. Our current music culture is one of eternal regenerations, retirements, and comebacks, so the reunion issue is moot, to be sure. But, here we are with a new EP from a group that has left and returned and then left again. Moreover, it's a reach back to the old sound, the old feeling. The Get Up Kids are searching for that elusive position, that nostalgic allure of the previous glory. It's not a failure though, so let's let them kick it.

The last we heard from the Get Up Kids was their last comeback. After 2004' beleaguered The Guilt Show, they sat back for seven years. 2011's There Are Rules saw a return to recording, but not a return to form. They had been moving more towards a pastoral pop style ever since 2002's On a Wire. There Are Rules saw the band sounding like a heavily-produced indie rock band with an austere side. It was just fine, but then they left our sight again.

As it is, Kicker is a definite throwback. There's no denying this from the start, as "Maybe" begins with a swirl of noise and guitar, seriously reminiscent of the opening track on their most beloved album, 1999's Something to Write Home About. The homage to their younger selves does not end there either. "Better This Way" uses the same chunky riffs and histrionic, half-yelled vocals the band was so famous for nearly 20 years ago. It's not a shame, as what worked in 1999 still works in some circles.

On the closing track, "My Own Reflection", Matt Pryor sings in a stiff voice: "It's hard enough to stay awake, let alone to motivate." The inflection betrays a lack of confidence, a weakness of voice. Yet, the band joins him for the next line, "But we do this every day", and the improvement is easily noted. Eventually, the keyboardist, James Dewees, is given time to stretch out, and the song begins to breathe and build. Before we know it, though, this EP is over before it fully blooms. It's not a big statement, and it's a little awkward in spots. It's just a little warm-up, a little kick in the seat of the pants. There's more to come I'm sure.

6

Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

A Certain Ratio Return with a Message of Hope on 'ACR Loco'

Inspired by 2019's career-spanning box set, legendary Manchester post-punkers A Certain Ratio return with their first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco.

Books

Oscar Hijuelos' 'Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love' Dances On

Oscar Hijuelos' dizzyingly ambitious foot-tapping family epic, Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love, opened the door for Latinx writers to tell their stories in all their richness.

Music

PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.

Film

'Lost Girls and Love Hotels' and Finding Comfort in Sadness

William Olsson's Lost Girls and Love Hotels finds optimism in its message that life tears us apart and puts us back together again differently.

Music

Bright Eyes' 'Down in the Weeds' Is a Return to Form and a Statement of Hope

Bright Eyes may not technically be emo, but they are transcendently expressive, beatifically melancholic. Down in the Weeds is just the statement of grounding that we need as a respite from the churning chaos around us.

Film

Audrey Hepburn + Rome = Grace, Class, and Beauty

William Wyler's Roman Holiday crosses the postcard genre with a hardy trope: Old World royalty seeks escape from stuffy, ritual-bound, lives for a fling with the modern world, especially with Americans.

Music

Colombia's Simón Mejía Plugs Into the Natural World on 'Mirla'

Bomba Estéreo founder Simón Mejía electrifies nature for a different kind of jungle music on his debut solo album, Mirla.

Music

The Flaming Lips Reimagine Tom Petty's Life in Oklahoma on 'American Head'

The Flaming Lips' American Head is a trip, a journey to the past that one doesn't want to return to but never wants to forget.

Music

Tim Bowness of No-Man Discusses Thematic Ambition Amongst Social Division

With the release of his seventh solo album, Late Night Laments, Tim Bowness explores global tensions and considers how musicians can best foster mutual understanding in times of social unrest.

Music

Angel Olsen Creates a 'Whole New Mess'

No one would call Angel Olsen's Whole New Mess a pretty album. It's much too stark. But there's something riveting about the way Olsen coos to herself that's soft and comforting.

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Masma Dream World Go Global and Trippy on "Sundown Forest" (premiere)

Dancer, healer, musician Devi Mambouka shares the trippy "Sundown Forest", which takes listeners deep into the subconscious and onto a healing path.

Music

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" Is an Ode for Unity in Troubling Times (premiere)

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" is a gentle, prayerful tune that depicts the heart of their upcoming album, Crucible.

Music

'What a Fantastic Death Abyss': David Bowie's 'Outside' at 25

David Bowie's Outside signaled the end of him as a slick pop star and his reintroduction as a ragged-edged arty agitator.

Music

Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.

Television

Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.

Film

Paul Reni's Silent Film 'The Man Who Laughs' Is Serious Cinema

There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Reni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.

Music

The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.