Future Hearts isn't short on the pop-rock anthems, but it's nothing we haven't heard before from All Time Low.
After releasing their full-length debut album, So Wrong, It’s Right, in 2007, All Time Low quickly gained popularity, co-headlining a UK tour with Cobra Starship in 2008, and being named Band of the Year by Alternative Press magazine in December of the same year. Since then, the Baltimore pop-punks have been on the rise, often name-dropped amongst other, bigger bands from the same scene like Fall Out Boy and Blink 182, but never quite progressing to their level.
Yet over the past year, the build-up to their sixth studio album, Future Hearts, has suggested that All Time Low might finally be taking that next step. With a sold-out Wembley Arena, and a co-headline UK arena tour with You Me At Six now under their belts, it’s clear that the band are progressing to bigger things. But the important question is: does Future Hearts promote All Time Low to the next level?
The album certainly starts strong with anthemic opener ‘Satellite’, and ‘Kicking and Screaming’, a wonderfully neat and energetic pop-rock track featuring a fierce guitar solo. Lead single ‘Something’s Gotta Give’ is a particular highlight of the album, with its wonderfully understated verses which build to one of those simple yet punchy choruses that All Time Low do so well. Second single ‘Kids In The Dark’ is sure to become a fan-favourite, with a fist-pumping beat and soaring, catchy vocal melodies.
Elsewhere, however, Future Hearts isn’t quite so successful. Token slow song ‘Missing You’ is bland and forgettable, and ‘Tidal Waves’ fares only a little better, owing mainly to the added dynamic of guest vocals from Blink 182’s Mark Hoppus. The album’s second guest appearance comes in the form of Good Charlotte’s Joel Madden on ‘Bail Me Out’, with that same, downplayed, casual-cool kind of vibe that worked so well on ‘Something’s Gotta Give’. Yet here, it doesn’t work as well – the track fails to really go anywhere, and as a whole is a little underwhelming.
But despite the mediocre midsection, Future Hearts manages to pick itself up again with the driving beat and infectious groove of ‘Dancing With A Wolf’, and with closing track ‘Old Scars / Future Hearts’, a potent burst of solid pop-rock goodness that simply refuses let up in pace, making for an explosive ending.
All in all, Future Hearts isn’t anything we haven’t heard before from All Time Low. Whilst it is, undeniably, packed with plenty of sing-along choruses and slick, neat verses, at times it feels rather formulaic and predictable. Future Hearts is sure to be a hit with the Baltimore quartet’s current listeners, but it is not the game-changing album it could have been.
Future Hearts is out now via Hopeless Records.