Oklahoma rockers The All-American Rejects return with their thirdalbum, When the World Comes Down. It was produced by Eric Valentine, whohas previously worked with such shining lights as Maroon 5. Some might say this isn’texactly a good sign to start with.
The band come under the broaddescription of “power pop”, but this lumps in everyone from TheBuzzcocks via The La’s through to OK Go. The latter, also with a newalbum due imminently, gave the world the excellent single (not tomention music video) Here It Goes Again, which it feels wrong to taintby association.
On the one hand, the Rejects are clearly doing something right, in asmuch as their previous two albums are certified platinum and doubleplatinum in the USA respectively. And their biggest singleto date, Dirty Little Secret from 2005’s Move Along, had a bit of kickto it.
But there’s not much in the way to delight the ears on thisparticular offering. Some winsomely Bond-style violin playing(the all-female string quartet, as opposed to 007) opens Fallin’ Apart,but isn’t used to its full potential. Splattered either side of this aretwo songs about girl trouble, which feature stunningly incisive lyricslike “Ooh you think that you could just push me around / Nah nah nah /Yeah there you go again”. Dear Deidre should be dispatched, stat.
Things perk up a bit with Gives You Hell, which will be first singlereleased from this album. The theme is being spiteful towards an ex, andrelishing the feeling of doing so. How well-adjusted. Still, it’s a rather good tune – on a par with Why Don’t You Get A Job? by TheOffspring.
The mandatory lovey-dovey ballad rides up immediatelyafterward, however, with sappy lines like “You can sit beside me whenthe world comes down.” It would have been preferable if they’d continuedin the vein of the previous song, perhaps with Dorothy Parker’s line “Ifyou don’t have anything nice to say, come sit by me.”
In Another Heart Calls, a guy and a girl sing sweet nothings to eachother over thrashing guitars. If only Baz Luhrmann had thought to usethis sort of dross when he remade Romeo And Juliet. Insteadwe had to make do with the Cardigans, the Wannadies andKym Mazelle. The sheer, unadulterated horror of it all.
The penultimate track The Wind Blows is quite different fromeverything else on the album. Hints of ’80s synths linger in thebackground, and as slow songs go in this genre, it isn’t half bad.There’s a touch of restraint to the proceedings, without guitarscrushing everything else in sight.
But this is not an album that you’re going to come back to again andagain. It’s tuneful in places, but ultimately pretty vapid.