Having returned to their indie label roots with 2012's Don't Panic, All Time Low build upon that album's no-nonsense power pop vibe with their equally infectious 2015 effort Future Hearts. Somewhat more ambitious in scope, with a bit more studio polish than Don't Panic, Future Hearts finds All Time Low moving from one catchy, high-energy track to the next. While they handled production duties quite well on Don't Panic, here they reunite with producer John Feldmann, who previously helmed the group's 2011 Interscope swan song, Dirty Work. Feldmann, who has contributed to works by such varied pop artists as Hilary Duff, Panic! At the Disco, and Avicii, doesn't tinker too much with the group's punk-pop approach, and simply helps the band achieve a slick consistency as they move across styles from driving emo-rock ("Kicking and Screaming") and folkie, mandolin-infused acoustic balladry ("Missing You") to buoyant dance-rock ("Dancing with a Wolf"). The album is also punctuated by several well-curated guest appearances, with blink-182's Mark Hoppus jumping on board for the epic, midtempo anthem "Tidal Waves," and Good Charlotte's Joel Madden lending his So-Cal croon to the punchy and hummable "Bail Me Out." Admittedly, there are fewer hard-rocking moments on Future Hearts, and cuts like the Killers-esque "Runaways" and the passionate, radio-ready "Cinderblock Garden," while rife with distorted electric guitar riffs, find the band counterbalancing the move away from punk rock swagger by leaning heavily on mature songcraft. Of course, it also doesn't hurt that lead singer Alex Gaskarth's paper-crisp, on-point vocals are balanced perfectly in the mix, with almost every track making room for plenty of sparkling harmonies. Ultimately, with Future Hearts, All Time Low have delivered an almost perfect blend of stadium-ready fist pumpers, ballads, and fuel-injected pop hits.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar