Album review: All Time Low – Tell Me I’m Alive

Ninth album from reinvigorated pop-punk stalwarts All Time Low sees them geared up for more mainstream success…

Album review: All Time Low – Tell Me I’m Alive
Mark Sutherland

These are great days to be a pop-punk. After the genre’s lockdown-inspired revival, new acts like Meet Me @ The Altar and WILLOW are bringing much-needed diversity and youthful vibrancy to the scene, while the OGs are just a TikTok trend away from being back in the big time.

Look at All Time Low, formed 20 years ago this year and one of the few bands who kept applying the defibrillator to the ailing genre during its 2010s wilderness years. They’ve spent recent years updating their sound, collaborating with everyone from Pale Waves to blackbear and Demi Lovato, and enjoying their biggest U.S. hit ever with the hip-hop-inflected Monsters.

So, it’s perhaps no surprise that Tell Me I’m Alive – their ninth album and the follow-up to 2020’s excellent Wake Up, Sunshine – leans into that success by amping up the pop, dialling down the punk and plotting a course for the adult pop-rock mainstream they last flirted with on 2017’s Last Young Renegade.

That’s great when the songs are as irresistible as sassy, piano-driven openers Tell Me I’m Alive and Modern Love (Alex Gaskarth even showing his new-found maturity on the latter by backing out of a lyric about masturbation halfway through). But when the song quality dips below that high bar, you’ll notice moments that seem more influenced by Maroon 5 (New Religion) or Ed Sheeran (Calm Down) than blink-182.

If that leaves you wishing for a good, old-fashioned blast of pop-punk juvenilia, fortunately the heady rush of Kill Ur Vibe and English Blood, American Heartache show ATL can still match the new breed when they put their minds to it.

That ensures there are more than enough bangers here to gatecrash the next-gen pop-punk party playlist. But Tell Me I’m Alive signals that All Time Low are now all grown up with somewhere else to go.

Verdict: 3/5

For fans of: Mayday Parade, You Me At Six, Elton John

Tell Me I'm Alive is released on March 17 via Fueled By Ramen

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