The Get Up Kids - There Are Rules (Cover Artwork)

The Get Up Kids

The Get Up Kids: There Are RulesThere Are Rules (2011)
Quality Hill

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: swankswank
(others by this writer | submit your own)

The first full-length album in seven years from Lawrence, Kan. native sons the Get Up Kids starts off with the rollicking "Tithe", perhaps the most exciting promise-of-what's-to-come album opener this side of New Found Glory's "Intro" from their Catalyst album. Unfortunately, this type of energy is .
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The first full-length album in seven years from Lawrence, Kan. native sons the Get Up Kids starts off with the rollicking "Tithe", perhaps the most exciting promise-of-what's-to-come album opener this side of New Found Glory's "Intro" from their Catalyst album. Unfortunately, this type of energy is only reprised sparsely over the 11 songs that follow it. This collection of songs is far from the controlled bursts of guitar, keys and angst found in seminal recordings like Something to Write Home About or the near-perfect Red Letter Day EP. In fact, there isn't much of the Get Up Kids' history that There Are Rules is comparable to at all (Guilt Show's "Is There a Way Out" may be the closest). But that in and of itself is a testament that this isn't a phoned-in reunion. It's refreshing to see a reunited band still take chances and resist the temptation to simply ape what's worked for them in the past.

Continuing where last year's Simple Science EP left off, the Get Up Kids take a darker, moodier direction. The newest trick in the arsenal seems to be creating a bed of fuzzy, distorted bass, rock-solid drums and murky keyboards upon which the guitar sounds, vocals and other effects sit. Lots of echo and chorus-pedal style effects are present through the majority of the multi-layered guitar work, and similarly, Matt Pryor's voice is distorted on most songs.

"Shatter Your Lungs" is so seemingly out of character that when I originally heard it, outside of the context of the album, I didn't even think I was listening to the Get Up Kids at all until Matt Pryor's distorted but nonetheless recognizable voice chimed in. Another standout, the dark "Rally 'Round the Fool" sounds as if it would be at home on Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross's recent score for The Social Network, save for the vocals.

Speaking of vocals, Jim Suptic has a higher lead vocal ratio than on previous outings (his previous average hovering between one and zero songs per record). The Suptic-led "Automatic" is easily the most straightforward pop-rock song on the record, and as such, almost seems out of place amid the darker tone of There Are Rules.

Previously-released track "Keith Case" makes a return on the album, though, sadly for people like me to who love to pick up on the changes and nuances of a re-recording (only to usually prefer the original recording, but I digress), it's the exact same recording as appears on 2010's Simple Science EP, but remains an album highlight.

TL;DR: Overall, There Are Rules implements many different sounds, layers and textures to produce a much more somber, mid-tempo and at times eerie atmosphere than previous efforts. It doesn't sound much like the tGUK of yore, but that's a good thing.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
whatchokesbegin (May 16, 2011)

I hated this at first, but this album is a real grower. There are certain moments where the music is just fantastic. I really like it more every time I listen, and I no longer feel like the Get Up Kid made a mistake by reuniting.

Dycelot (May 7, 2011)

I agree with the reviewer. I would also like to note that although this is a strong, wily and diverse collection of songs, this "new" direction isn't exactly "new". Think Bloc Party, Tokyo Police Club, Atom & His Package, and The Get Up Kids having an impromptu jam session together, even though the thought put into the song writing process here isn't exactly "impromptu".

Cheesetits (February 2, 2011)

I really liked this. And I'm surprised.

shawnlw (February 2, 2011)

Wow, this has got to be one of a very few cases where a band breaking up, getting old, and re-uniting yields a better record than anything they had done before. Having their sound ripped off a million times over makes their old records sound like cliche emo/pop. This record just fucking rules. Hopefully they move further in this direction.

superskabro (January 31, 2011)

wow. you guys are slamming this...

dev (January 31, 2011)

That's about the worst cover art I've ever seen.

Allular (January 28, 2011)

This album is very different but very good. Lots of (good) Strokes and Bloc Party moments, not sure if it's intentional. I'm glad they went for something different, I think they took the On a Wire/Guilt Show sound as far as they could take it. I wasn't sure when I first heard "Shatter Your Lungs" but context is everything and in the context of the whole record, it's a great song.

Looks like the bassist Pope picked up some tricks from playing in Spoon too. The Brothers Pope and James DeWees are the MVP's of this record, in my opinion.

danperrone (January 28, 2011)

one of the worst albums i have ever heard.

bryne (January 28, 2011)

I really like this album. Its unpredictability works in its favor, and the rhythm section sounds awesome. I'm glad they didn't just reunite to write a redux of STWHA.

baseball (January 28, 2011)

I expected better. Just not into this sound.

eatdogs (January 28, 2011)

just to help me out a bit since i haven't listened to it yet, what does it compare to??? post-punk of the 2000's??? shoegaze or dream-pop??? folktronica???

drunkwithpower (January 28, 2011)

I think it's full of filler, too many aimless ballads

preston (January 28, 2011)

I stopped reading after the NFG mention.

superskabro (January 28, 2011)

This shit is surprisingly off the hook. I think in the seven years since "Guilt Show", the band listened to a lot of The Strokes and The Cars, then re-united to make a new-wave record. I was taken off guard at first, but it's an impressive record.

MN_DrNick (January 28, 2011)

This is actually pretty good. Yeah, it's not was the Get Up Kids were ten years ago. But you know what? It's different and very good.

DoctorMisterSir (January 28, 2011)

I really like the song "Automatic" but I haven't been able to get into the rest of the album. It's not a bad album at all, but it doesn't really have the styles and energy that made the Get Up Kids songs I love great.

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