There’s something ultimately warming about The Get Up Kids and their sound. Being one of the five people who enjoyed their big “fuck you” record that was On A Wire (an album that sits slap bang in the middle of their career, dividing opinion and scattering their fanbase to the four winds) and its campfire-sounding sing-a-longs, fuzzy, maudlin tones and songs that sound best heard in the comfort of the darkness. It was a step away from the sweaty raucous punch of Something To Write Home About and indeed, Four Minute Mile. It’s interesting then, that Kicker, a four track, 14 minute EP of tightly packed anthems is a hark back to days of old and is laced with longing, tingling nostalgia.
The crunching squeal of the guitars on opener Maybe will send a shiver of delight down your spine, not to mention the erratic keyboard stabs from James Dewees and spirited tambourine slaps. This kind of melodic, uplifting rock is juxtaposed with a tale of defeat and a longing need for support; the line “Nothing more for me to do/I can’t talk to you know who/I feel like running away” is delivered in a resolute way, but there are moments of bright optimism shining through “there’s still more work to do” sings vocalist Matt Pryor, creating this almost Jekyll and Hyde persona.
The 3 minute banger of Better This Way, absolutely steams past, featuring a killer chorus and the cry of “if you need me I’ll be here/but if you want to disappear/it would be wrong to say/I guess some things would be better this way” it errs on the side of maudlin and abandonment, but perhaps a focus of moving on and being free. Either way, it’s a sturdy, robust slab of their brand of expressive punk, with a killer undercutting keyboard line.
I’m Sorry feels a lot more immediate; enveloped in this Saves The Day-esque pop-rock bounce (think Through Being Cool if you need a reference point) and feels like a warm, embracing hug of good feelings and the semi-cheesy chorus of “I never want to miss your Birthday parties, I just want to see you smiling…” sung by Pryor will make you grin from ear to ear and my favourite song on this short and sweet EP – a track brimming with positive vibes. The atmospheric synth-led stroll of My Own Reflection, is a lot more thoughtful in execution, brooding and lingering for a good couple of minutes before, bursting forth with a positive and sudden “HEY!” The last minute or so is a glorious overlapping mix of twinkling keys, washed-out, grunge-esque guitars and is an infectious, hook-drenched ear-worm, that suddenly cuts off just as you begin to get into it.
Kicker is a cracking EP and return for The Get Up Kids, tapping into their signature sound and enough expressive ideas to keep fans old and new interested. Great work – stream/download/buy it now.