The release of The Get Up Kids debut full-length Four Minute Mile is something that I recall with the greatest of ease. My sister won a contest from a record store, getting a slew of just released CDs for free. Amongst the various punk compilations and releases from bands on Epitaph, Fat Wreck, and Lookout! was said album from The Get Up Kids. I borrowed it and never gave it back. Anyway, this obviously led to my excitement when the bands next full-length, Something to Write Home About, came to be. Ten years from its release, here I sit, maybe not as excited as I was the day I got the original, but definitely eager to revisit an album that got more than a few spins alongside Cant Slow Down and Nothing Gold Can Stay.
With Holiday, The Get Up Kids set the tone for Something to Write Home About as it fuses the bands signature sound at the time: energetic pop-punk mingling with the intricacies of emo. Imagine if you will Sunny Day Real Estate and Saves the Day taking each other in arms for an up-tempo dance number; the post-hardcore guitars provide the driving force for the song while interjections of melody are placed perfectly to provide an outstanding opening to the album.
The pace is scaled back just a tad on Action & Action, allowing the vocals of Matt Pryor to regain the focus from the guitars that dominated the opening cut. Additionally, the keyboards of James Dewees add a zest to the song that allowed the group to stand out from their peers (and inspired a slew of bands in the wake of their introduction).
After an upbeat and energetic start The Get Up Kids delve into emo ballad territory with Valentine. The band brings about a mature approach to their sound, trading in fast and loud for soft and delicate. Once again, Dewees use of keys truly gives the song its identity. The acoustic number Out of Reach provides a further glimpse at the bands songwriting development since Four Minute Mile, as well as foreshadowing the bands experimentation with future recordings.
And this is essentially what you can expect from the bulk of the material found on Something to Write Home About. There is an even mixture of more tamed and safe songs interspersed with the energetic pogo-inducing ones. The pop-punk rooted Ten Minutes is easily my favorite cut from the album. Everything from the upbeat music to the relatable and believable lyrics results in perfection. Later on listeners will find themselves swaying and lost in the musings of Pryor on My Apology and Long Goodnight. On the other hand, theyll be leaping back and forth while Close to Home blasts from the stereo, and with good reason.
Closing out the album is Ill Catch You. This is a song that appeared on countless mixed tapes shortly after its release. Pryors delivery further cements the words into emo history, and so long as music exists this song will speak for romantics with feelings buried deep inside but unable to verbalize them for whatever reasons.
Accompanying the re-release of this album is a DVD, which features The Get Up Kids performing the album from start to finish. I think its a great novelty for those that got to see the album played start to finish, but after a couple of watches it loses a little bit of its appeal with me. I found myself wishing there were more songs from other recordings (particularly Four Minute Mile) mixed in. Also, there is a download card (which I did not receive) for several unreleased demos, so I cannot speak for those. But given the fact that the two b-sides from the record were made available on Eudora I guess they were working with limited extras to tack onto the release.
Something to Write Home About remains one of the must-have albums of the emo/pop-punk craze that was happening when it was originally released. While it is not my favorite recording of theirs that belongs to Four Minute Mile - it is an essential album to have for just about anyones record collection.
8.0 / 10
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