Perhaps because you could in no way call them ‘kids’, Kansas City’s The Get Up Kids have repeatedly risen above the emo quagmire over their 15 years’ service to the cause of post- punk thrash.
A keen pop nous, lo-fi integrity and a reluctance to resort to emo-by-numbers barking when stuck for a chorus have set them apart.
This fifth studio album – after a five-year split – pushes the Get Up gumption further still. Beats brood and bristle with gothic intensity. Matt Pryor sings of lost faith, falling bombs and personal breakdowns more redolent of Tool offshoot A Perfect Circle or their own dark 2005 album Guilt Show than their power pop roots.
Fuzz guitars merge and meld with cranky synthesisers until neither know which they started out as. When TGUK are not indulging their twisted synth-pop underside on Shatter Your Lungs or Automatic, there’s an atmospheric fire in the bellies of Tithe, Pararelevant and Keith Case that screams ‘emo Radiohead’.
Experimental, expansive and challenging – yet intrinsically melodic and propulsive – There Are Rules proves the opposite.