The Get Up Kids, There Are Rules
On their first release in seven years, the Get Up Kids grow up
From their start in the mid '90s, the Get Up Kids were heavily influenced by the likes of Superchunk, Fugazi and Drive Like Jehu. In the same way that Superchunk's pioneering indie rock soundtracked the tumultuous high school years of teens in the '90s, the Get Up Kids' confessional, heart-on-sleeve take on pop-punk — which, yes, often got classified as "emo" — did the same for kids in the later half of that decade, right up until the band's breakup in 2005.
In 2009, the Kansas City, Mo., group celebrated the 10th anniversary of their touchstone album, Something to Write Home About, and with a remastered edition of that record came the announcement of a reunion tour. Fast-forward a year or so to There Are Rules, their first collection of new music since 2004's Guilt Show. In the past five years, bassist Rob Pope has joined Spoon, keyboardist James DeWees has been playing with My Chemical Romance, and Pryor has continued with his band the New Amsterdams, worked on his children's music project Terrible Twos, and also released his first record under his own name.
Rules will likely surprise longtime Get Up Kids fans: The lyrics require interpretation, with more allusions to religion ("Tithe," "The Widow Paris") and others' wrongdoings ("Better Lie," "Rally 'Round the Fool") than unrequited love (a la "Forgive and Forget" and "My Apology"). The songs are high-energy and experimental, but more contained and mature than the angst-ridden frenzy of their first few releases. The start of the set's best track, "Regent's Court," is reminiscent of the Strokes, with punchy guitars alternating with a buzzing synth line; "Shatter Your Lungs" doesn't even use guitars, but instead relies on warped electronics and drums. The Get Up Kids are far from being kids anymore and the new sound is serving them well.