Move Along

Studio Album by released in 2005

Move Along review

Tyson Ritter (vocals/bass) and Nick Wheeler (guitar/programming) were in junior high when music started to influence them. Both were stuck in the ho-hum life of small-town America. Stillwater, OK, wasn't exactly the most exciting place in the world, so naturally the boys turned to music. By high school, both were music freaks and in their own little cliques. Mike Kennerty (guitar) and Chris Gaylor (drums) were added to Wheeler and Ritter's rascal group by 2000 and the band was official. With production work from Tim O'Heir (Sebadoh, Juliana Hatfield, Superdrag), The All-American Rejects released their self-titled debut in 2003. Move Along followed two years later. The pop-punk quartet is still peddling pep and polish, but singer Tyson Ritter has toned down his falsetto, and the band has thrown a little dirt into the gears, making for a slightly grittier sound. There's still plenty of catchy radio-friendly pop here, and the emo-aimed musings on obsessive romance and young indolence are more disarming than obnoxious.

On this album you hear violins, pianos, bongos a Spanish sounding guitar riff, much more grown up lyrics, and with all of these new types of sounds they have still got their catchiness. The All-American Rejects rock out a little on Night Drive, Dirty Little Secret, and I'm Waiting – the guitars crackle anxiously, and Tyson Ritter and Nick Wheeler's breathy harmonies soar like they mean it. There's also distortion somewhere in Stab My Back, but it's buried under acoustic guitars, vocal overdubs, and mournful keyboards. Move Along has some memorable hooks, like on the title track or Change Your Mind. And, living up to its title, it moves along efficiently, usually keeping the pace at a snappy midtempo. The songs are also impeccably arranged, even if they're relentlessly processed and some of the instrumentation seems like overkill. The tracks are short and the choruses are tailor-made for shouting along with, as people undoubtedly will. As before, co-leader Nick Wheeler decorates the songs with more odd touches than one would expect from an otherwise straightforward pop-punk band, layering sitar, banjo, theremin and hip-hop-flavored electronic beats into songs that otherwise sound little different from the likes of Blink-182 or Good Charlotte. Highlights include the sneering Stab My Back, and the flamenco-inflected rocker Top of the World.

While no profundity enters within the frames of this sheen album, a lot of energy does. Every track bounds, and frolics with each riff, each thud of bass, each shot on the snare. v is made for the masses, with each song as sexed up for the radio as the next. Full of isolation, break ups, and other run-of-the-mill pop topics Move Along never really questions straying from the path. The All-American Rejects find comfort in their Eden, and are perhaps worried about getting rejected. In other words, it's easy to like The All-American Rejects if you're looking for 21st century mainstream rock that takes very, very few chances but does offer solid melodies and easy to swallow take/break and night/flight rhyme schemes. After listening to Move Along, one word immediately comes into mind: potential. This band has endless potential. If they would ever fully embrace their pop-rock sound that makes them so lovable, they could be a great band.