March 01, 2011 - Universal Motown
When Forever The Sickest Kids released The Weekend: Friday in 2009, they planned to follow the mini LP with two companion pieces, appropriately titled The Weekend: Saturday and The Weekend: Sunday. The group quickly abandoned this path after Friday sank under the weight of its kitschy, clumsy lyrics and gallons of Auto-Tuned vocals. The band have thankfully corrected course for their self-titled sophomore full-length, but Forever The Sickest Kids is still a frustrating listen at times.
On one hand, FTSK are obviously skilled at writing picture-perfect uptempo pop-punk: “Keep On Bringing Me Down” might be their best song since 2008’s Underdog Alma Mater, and the pogo-ready “Summer Song” and “Bipolar Baby!” are breezy, ebullient swaths of feel-good pop-rock. But when the quintet (keyboardist Kent Garrison tendered his resignation earlier this year) veer into more electronic, dancey territory (“Life Of The Party,” “Robots & Aliens”), things lose steam quickly.
Still, these moments are both less frequent and off-putting than on previous releases, showcasing a significant amount of songwriting streamlining and restraint. And let’s be honest: No one listens to Forever The Sickest Kids in hopes of absorbing lyrical life lessons. You get the feeling the band members are the sort of guys who show up to weddings in Nike Dunks and have a collective Peter Pan complex larger than their home state of Texas, but there are genuine attempts at introspection (“Keep On Bringing Me Down,” “What Happened To Emotion? (Killing Me)”) that surface every so often amid the sea of puppy-love one-liners and show hope for a more mature effort next time around. It’s almost as if the band are finally phasing out the electronic and sophomoric elements of their sound and using Forever The Sickest Kids as a bridge record to bigger and better things.