April 13, 2010 - Flyover/Simple Psyence
While the idea of old, broken up and/or underrated bands reuniting for a second go 'round the festival circuit isn't exactly a new one--especially in the contemporary punk and emo scene, where the phrase "indefinite hiatus" usually morphs itself into "cash-grab tour" within 36 months--it's significantly rarer for a band to artistically regroup and cut new material. The Pixies have been playing together again for half a decade and all we've gotten is one lousy song out of it (the utterly forgettable "Bam Thwok").
On the other hand, there's a band like Lifetime, who unarguably went out at the top of their musical game with 1997's Jersey's Best Dancers and delivered a spot-on self-titled comeback LP in 2005, too, proving old dogs can pick up a few new tricks here and there.
The Get Up Kids fall somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. Broken up for barely three years, the band regrouped in the fall of 2008 and have been steadily touring since. But unbeknownst to most, TGUK laid down nine tracks last fall, with an additional four put to tape after their most recent U.S. tour. Choosing to forgo the traditional album cycle, the band have instead decided to self-release three separate EPs throughout 2010, with the four-track Simple Science being the first on the docket.
But enough backstory: How does it sound? Well, even though the band recorded live to tape and cranked these songs out in a comparatively short amount of time (under two weeks), don't expect it to sound like Four Minute Mile Part II. Instead, the 16-minute EP is stylistically similar to where TGUK left off with 2004's Guilt Show. The songs are both lively and spunky (see the Tom Petty-esque "Your Petty Pretty Things") and moody and morose (the six-minute, drum machine-driven closer "How You're Bound"), but the connecting thread is frontman Matt Pryor's strong vocals and an airtight rhythm section provided by bassist Rob and drummer Ryan Pope. (see the EP's standout, "Keith Case").
While all four tracks are solid additions to TGUK's ever-expanding catalog, none are absolutely essential listening. Unfortunately, guitarist Jim Suptic doesn't contribute any lead vocals on Simple Science; this is especially worrisome considering some of TGUK's best songs were ones he sang ("Forgive And Forget," "10 Minutes") and his post-TGUK band, the woefully short-lived Blackpool Lights, played just the kind of kick-in-the-pants rock 'n' roll thatSimple Science could use more of.
Still, we're thrilled to welcome the Get Up Kids back to our music libraries with relatively open arms, and while Simple Science might not be the true comeback album we were hoping for, we're cautiously optimistic for EP No. 2, tentatively due in late summer.