Review Summary: The Get Up Kids take a try at being adults.
In 1999 The Get Up Kids wrote the blueprint for the modern pop punk album with Something To Write Home About
. Its sugary sweet and pleadingly romantic sound can still be heard in everything from Taking Back Sunday to All Time Low to The Hot Rod Circuit. Not bad for a bunch of kids from Kansas. Having already secured their place in history, The Get Up Kids could have just rehashed [/i]Something To Write Home About for their follow up[/i]. That's what most were expecting when they finally got the chance to give their 2002 release On A Wire
a spin. To their surprise, the pop punk perfection of Something To Write Home About
had been infused with a more mature alt-country sound. While many listeners quickly wrote off On A Wire
, those that take the time to give it a listen are met by some of The Get Up Kids' best work.
On On A Wire
, The Get Up Kids are at their best when they tackle some rather dark demons. The album's opener, Overdue, is a retrospective look at a relationship with an alcoholic parent. The simple construction of the song allows Matt Pryor's grating voice and pensive lyricism to meld with the gently strummed acoustic guitar to create an attitude that perfectly matches that personal bite of the subject matter. Having become just become parent, Pryor continues the journey into his consciousness on Stay Gone, as he theorizes how his daughter will look at a father figure that is never there. It also hints back to the overall theme of Overdue as recurring cycle of neglect. Luckily, it is set to wondrously upbeat and twangy instrumentation making it easier to digest. On A Wire
is more than just tales of being forgotten and bad decisions. High as the Moon brings back the care free innocence of The Get Up Kid's earlier material as Pryor weaves a heartwarming yarn about longing for a crush. Jangly piano and shimmering power chords accompany such honest and simple lyrics like "I'll build an altar for you out of Polaroids and pins on the wall of my room. I don't know what to do. Waiting for you should be a sin"
. On A Wire
saves the best for last with Hannah, Hold On. With Hannah, Hold On, Matt Pryor bears all of his heart on his sleeve as perfectly layered strings swell on top of a forlorn acoustic guitar. As the song fades, Pryor sings, "I never asked to be sorry. If its over its over for sure,"
cementing its place in the upper echelon of break up songs.
On A Wire
may not be the nostalgic teenage image personified like [/i]Something To Write Home About[/i], but it wasn't supposed to be. Things change. Priorities and sentiments that once meant the world to us while younger get replaced as we grow older and realize that there are more important things besides that school yard crush. On A Wire
is a snapshot of this crossroads.