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

Jim White Offers a "Smart Ass Reply" (premiere)

Jesus and Alice Cooper are tighter than you think, but a young Jim White was taught to treat them as polar opposites. Then an eight-track saved his soul and maybe his life.

Music

Ed Harcourt Paints From 'Monochrome to Colour'

British musician Ed Harcourt's instrumental music is full of turbulent swells and swirls that somehow maintain a dignified beauty on Monochrome to Colour.

Music

West London's WheelUP Merges Broken Beat and Hip-Hop on "Stay For Long" (premiere)

West London producer WheelUP reached across the pond to Brint Story to bring some rapid-fire American hip-hop to his broken beat revival on "Stay For Long".

Music

PM Picks Playlist 4: Stellie, The Brooks, Maude La​tour

Today's playlist features the premiere of Stellie's "Colours", some top-class funk from the Brooks, Berne's eco-conscious electropop, clever indie-pop from Maude Latour, Jaguar Jonze rocking the mic, and Meresha's "alien pop".

Culture

Plattetopia: The Prefabrication of Utopia in East Berlin

With the fall of the Berlin Wall came the licence to take a wrecking ball to its nightmare of repression. But there began the unwritten violence of Die Wende, the peaceful revolution that hides the Oedipal violence of one order killing another.

Music

Electrosoul's Flõstate Find "Home Ground" on Stunning Song (premiere)

Flõstate are an electrosoul duo comprised of producer MKSTN and singer-songwriter Avery Florence that create a mesmerizing downtempo number with "Home Ground".

Music

Orchestra Baobab Celebrate 50 Years with Vinyl of '​Specialist in All Styles'

As Orchestra Baobab turn 50, their comeback album Specialist in All Styles gets a vinyl reissue.

Music

Hot Chip Stay Up for 'Late Night Tales'

Hot Chip's contribution to the perennial compilation project Late Night Tales is a mixed bag, but its high points are consistent with the band's excellence.

Music

The Budos Band Call for Action on "The Wrangler" (premiere)

The Budos Band call on their fans for action with the powerful new track "The Wrangler" that falls somewhere between '60s spy thriller soundtrack and '70s Ethiojazz.

Music

Creature Comfort's "Woke Up Drunk" Ruminates on Our Second-Guesses (premiere)

A deep reflection on breaking up, Nashville indie rock/Americana outfit Creature Comfort's "Woke Up Drunk" is the most personal track from their new album, Home Team.

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 .

Books

For Don DeLillo, 'The Silence' Is Deafening

In Don DeLillo's latest novel, The Silence, it is much like our post-pandemic life -- everything changed but nothing happened. Are we listening?

Music

Brett Newski Plays Slacker Prankster on "What Are You Smoking?" (premiere)

Is social distancing something we've been doing, unwittingly, all along? Brett Newski pulls some pranks, raises some questions in "What Are You Smoking?".

Music

Becky Warren Shares "Good Luck" and Discusses Music and Depression

Becky Warren finds slivers of humor while addressing depression for the third time in as many solo concept albums, but now the daring artist is turning the focus on herself in a fight against a frightful foe.

Music

Fleet Foxes Take a Trip to the 'Shore'

On Shore, Fleet Foxes consist mostly of founding member Robin Pecknold. Recording with a band in the age of COVID-19 can be difficult. It was just time to make this record this way.

Books

'We're Not Here to Entertain' Is Not Here to Break the Cycle of Punk's Failures

Even as it irritates me, Kevin Mattson's We're Not Here to Entertain is worth reading because it has so much direct relevance to American punks operating today.

Film

Uncensored 'Native Son' (1951) Is True to Richard Wright's Work

Compared to the two film versions of Native Son in more recent times, the 1951 version more acutely captures the race-driven existential dread at the heart of Richard Wright's masterwork.

Music

3 Pairs of Boots Celebrate Wandering on "Everywhere I Go" (premiere)

3 Pairs of Boots are releasing Long Rider in January 2021. The record demonstrates the pair's unmistakable chemistry and honing of their Americana-driven sound, as evidenced by the single, "Everywhere I Go".


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.