Essential New Music: The Get Up Kids’ “Kicker”

It’s difficult to really miss a band like the Get Up Kids. Sure, it’s been seven years since the band put out its last LP—extremely underrated fuzz-rock set There Are Rules—but at this point the fivesome has made its indelible mark. You can hear the Kids all over the place in modern emo, From the dusty, sincere wail of acts like awakebutstillinbed to the detailed and direct pop of artists like Oso Oso, the many sides of the Get Up Kids are with us even when the band is not.

But there’s no reason a band with this kind of legacy in this little niche can’t come back and sound natural as ever. Kicker, the new four-song EP from the band, is a quick little jumpstart for the group, and it has a lot to give in just 13 minutes. Opener “Maybe” is like candy for anyone who’s ever loved this genre—a loud, pounding anthem with all the biting spirit of the band’s best work. “Better This Way” and “I’m Sorry” are pure fun to fill out the center of the EP while setting us up for the crowning jewel of the collection: “My Own Reflection.” This song so easily encapsulates everything that has always been great about the Get Up Kids, a reminder of why so many people have connected with this band over its long career. Matt Pryor sings as the song opens, “It’s hard enough to stay awake/Let alone to motivate/But we do this everyday.” For all the discontent, the angst, the anxiety of everyday life, this band has always been excellent at living through the stomach knots and aimless longing to turn the Kids into something that feels damn good to sing along to. And when that loud, vibrant synth line comes in to take center stage, the kind of sound you turn up far too loud on a lonely, dark drive because you just want to pull it close as you can, it’s hard to deny that the band is still as good at this as it ever was.

There’s a déjà-vu sensation that comes when listening to these songs. That’s fine—these songs are not anything drastically new for the Get Up Kids. The band has made plenty of trips to new sounds and textures over the years, and they’ve all been rewarding. But Kicker doesn’t want to go anywhere new really; it just sounds like it wants to come home. And no matter where else they may go on this new run, it sure was nice to have the Get Up Kids touch base in a sound as comfortable as the one that Kicker provides.

—Jordan Walsh