Last Young Renegade by All Time Low

Having spent the last two years capturing the love of thousands around the world with their breath-taking live performances. All Time Low are back as they release the band’s most hard-hitting record yet; Last Young Renegade is the band’s seventh studio album, and with a new record label and rumours of them “selling out” in the air, they mean business.

The songs all have a thread of linking ideas running through them, sharing a similar message of learning to live with your past. The band has clearly used this album to prove who they are as musicians and what they are all about. Die-hard fans going to appreciate the unique merchandise that was introduced with the album, including jackets for each band member with a different symbol on the back representing them; a rose for lead vocalist Alex Gaskarth, a dragon for bassist Zack Merrick. Many members of the fanbase have taken to social media to show off their very own homemade versions.

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Last Young Renegade is the first sign of the new matured sound; the slow building opening track shows them broadening their sound without losing where they came from; with a soul surging beat led by Rian Dawson and Zack Merrick it is sure to be a crowd pleaser. The lyrics are bound to resonate; as the guitars die out Gaskarth’s voice emerges solid and clean with the heart-wrenching lyric “I’ll keep on fighting just to make you believe.”
Dirty Laundry is a sobering track focused on lyrics and synth-sounding guitars; it’s about leaving the past where it belongs, and loving the people around you not only for their light, but their darkness too.

Nice2KnoU is a tribute to their roots, a dedication to the places that have made them who they are. It’s the fast tempo, upbeat, melodic All Time Low that fans know and love; paired flawlessly with hazy synth vocals. The music video follows this looking at key venues they’ve played; including the bar where they “made out with Dear Maria” who inspired the 2007 hit song Dear Maria, Count Me In.

Life of the Party is a nod to the old material coupled with a fearless embrace of modern R&B similar to new label-mates Paramore and Twenty One Pilots. This doesn’t mean they’re selling out; just trying their best to stay relevant in a genre that is constantly overlooked. Life of the Party is driven by prominent drumming and speaks to the part of us who is always trying to please everybody else so much we lose sight of who we are. These are a collection of intense, emotional songs with skilful vocal effects, and programmed beats. Unlike older All Time Low records, atmospheric production takes centre stage rather than raucous riffs or pounding drums, however enough of a punk attitude remains for old fans to back it and new ones to join in.

A song that is certain to get any crowd moving is Dark Side of Your Room, which carries a story effortlessly, creating an anthemic atmosphere only All Time Low could pull off live. It’s for the used, bruised, and heartbroken; the band have lost brothers, friends, lovers and record labels since forming in 2003 so they know a thing or two about hard times.

Ground Control featuring Tegan and Sara is one of the most optimistic, hopeful songs All Time Low have ever written; “Don’t be afraid if you start floating away” reassuring fans it’s okay if you find yourself adrift, and take time to find yourself. Ground Control embraces the idea of love helping you figure out your place, just as their song Missing You from previous album Future Hearts (2015) did.

Afterglow is the album’s closing track, with a smooth bass line, it stays clear of the upbeat, ebullient pop-punk sound that started it all. Alex Gaskarth has said that each song on Last Young Renegade is a different version of himself that other people have met throughout the years; if this is true then Afterglow is the happiest version of Alex shown on this album and provides solid evidence that All Time Low are here for the long haul.

Last Young Renegade is written from the outside looking in, a serious and mature story of finding not only yourself but also love. There is something for everyone, with musical mastery bursting at the seams.

10/10

Standout tracks: Dirty Laundry, Afterglow, Dark Side of Your Room
For Fans of: As It Is, Twenty One Pilots, Fall Out Boy

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