The Get Up Kids
It might be a good idea for band members to reside in the same geographic area. Sure, after years of living together, sharing meals and chores there's the desire to get your own place when success arrives. But The Get Up Kids took it to the extreme with vocalist/guitarist Matt Pryor living in Boston and drummer Ryan Pope calling L.A. home. The two only saw each other when touring which helps explain why there's been some time between the group's releases.
The Get Up Kids formed in Kansas City with Pryor, bassist Rob Pope, vocalist/guitarist Jim Suptic and drummer Nathan Shay. That '94 line-up went through an early change when Pope's kid brother Ryan replaced Shay. Influenced by a fellow Midwest band, The Replacements, The Get Up Kids were soon recording and releasing material on a couple indie labels. Following their signing to Vagrant Records, The Get Up Kids added keyboardist James DeWess. "Something To Write Home About" was released in '99. It was followed by '02 album "On A Wire." Two years later, "Guilt Show" arrived.
With a name like The Get Up Kids it's reasonable to expect an upbeat, fun-loving group. And that's pretty much where they started. '97 release "Four Minute Mile" with "Come Clean" is a kicker. "Something To Write Home About" has pop-Punk with a dash of the '80s. The song "Red Letter Day" is very reminiscent of The Alarm while "Action + Action" has a wave-pop keyboard underpinning. "On A Wire" features Rockers like "Stay Gone" but there is more range here. "Grunge Pig" wins the award for best title and is a thick, lumbering ode. The album closer "Hannah, Hold On," a strong ballad, ventures straight into Emo turf. In the end, "Something To Write Home About" is the group's preeminent effort. "Four Minute Mile" and "On A Wire" are both strong LPs.
"Guilt Show" is a straight-ahead guitar oriented power-pop album. "Never Be Alone" has the sloppy charm of an early Stones track. Riding a tasty guitar line "Sick In Her Skin" along with Rockers "Sympathy" and "Wouldn't Believe It" are the stellar tracks. The album rolls along until the last three tracks. "The Dark Night Of Soul" with the "redemption is a bitch" line seems at odds with itself. The dreamy "Is There A Way Out" dissipates instantly while "Conversation" is overly dramatic. Up to that point, The Get Up Kids have a good CD going.