Roots of modern emo
Emo is sort of going through a resurgence in years past. Bands like Modern Baseball, Remo Drive and Foxing are considered indie mainstays with their diverse coalition of multiple sides of the emo genre. Emo is quite the broad term in reality. A lot of people see the genre as darker, emotional lyrics with music that shadows that, others see it emo as fun Midwest-influenced guitar licks. Either way you look at it, these bands that have gone from city basements to music festivals across the country wouldn’t be there without their predecessors.
The Get Up Kids, in relation to modern emo, may be more influential than the Kinsella groups that are known as iconic to the genre. The Get Up Kids mixed the quirky social awkwardness of post-Pinkerton Weezer with a Midwest-influenced slice of pop-punk. All things considered, Four Minute Mile and Something to Write Home About are required listening for emo fans.
Now seven years since their last release, The Get Up Kids are back with a short four track EP, Kicker. The EP has everything one can really want in a new Get Up Kids release. Even with age, the band has kept their key roots, all while improving their production and instrumentals.
“Maybe” starts like a typical Get Up Kids song, but with an additional piano that almost makes it anthemic. The lighthearted and fun voice of Matt Pryor highlights the track. He has a voice that has influenced so many artists, such as Justin Pierre of Motion City Soundtrack. The chorus is insanely catchy and it makes the track the most old-school Get Up Kids the EP has to offer.
“Better this Way” has fun group vocals throughout the verse. This builds up another catchy chorus that feels more traditional rock and roll than the rest of the album, in the sense of Americana style. The guitar solo and keyboards implemented in the track are definitely highlights.
“I’m Sorry” is sort of stereotypical pop-punk in the sense that the lyrical content talks about apologizing for one’s mistakes – the reluctant punk in some ways. The song builds up to a really enjoyable bridge and conclusion with the combination of the chorus and the background shrieks of Pryor.
Once again, the additional keyboard in “My Own Reflection” is the highlight of the track. It feels almost like Matt Sharp’s Rentals in terms of its combination of synthesizer and emo qualities. The vocal dynamics of Pryor are on full showcase in this EP’s close, showing his best singing on the whole project.
Kicker is a quick 15 minutes of typical Get Up Kids pop-rock. The low tier production of their early releases are all a thing of the past here, but the spirit of the band remains intact to the point where old and new fans will enjoy this release all the same.