All Time Low has been an underrated staple in the pop/punk genre since the release of their breakout album So Wrong, It’s Right. I say “underrated” because, while they have a large number of passionate followers they’ve never reached the widespread acclaim of bands such as Blink 182 or New Found Glory, and that’s rather unfortunate as these guys have produced a good number of solid records, such as Nothing Personal and Don’t Panic. While those releases certainly have garnered the appropriate praise, I want to quickly defend an album that I believe receives just as much: Future Hearts.
I understand why Future Hearts has been met with such a lukewarm reception. This is where the band began abandoning their pop/punk roots for a much more accessible pop/rock sound and lead single “Kids In The Dark” didn’t help it make a good first impression in any way. It’s a cliched and clunky anthem about lighting up a dark world. “Something’s Gotta Give” is likewise just not interesting enough to hook the listener in for the long run.
However, aside from a few exceptions, Future Hearts is a solid record through and through. It melds the pop direction of their latest record, Last Young Renegade (a hit and miss for many, including this reviewer) with the punkish sound of Don’t Panic. “Runaways” is an excellent example of this fusion. It’s an energetic and infectious jam that is impossible not to get caught up in. “Cinderblock Garden” has arguably the strongest chorus on an album of many solid contenders, featuring fantastical lyrics about finding the gold in a difficult relationship. Further highlights are “Don’t You Go” which features a throwback sound to earlier albums, the burning rock number “Dancing With A Wolf” and the album’s titular track “Old Scars/Future Hearts.”
Future Hearts isn’t a perfect album by any stretch. Those looking for more depth won’t find it here, and as already mentioned a handful of tracks are forgettable and edge towards bad on one or two occasions, but if you’re in the mood for light ear candy, this is an excellent choice. You can pick up a download of the deluxe edition for just a dollar from the Hopeless Records store. For that amount, I’d say it’s money well spent.
4/5 (Updated 30/01/18)