The Kicker EP, the band's first record after a seven-year break, is a blast of old-school Get Up Kids filtered through the experiences of a bunch of guys in their forties. The four songs rush past in a wave of overdriven guitars, sweeping keyboards, jumpy tempos, and vocals jammed up with emotion. None of the measured indie rock sound of their late-period albums still exists; none of the electronics found on their previous reunion records made it through, either. Kicker is good-old emo with the energy of punk and the insistent melodies of pop, exactly what the Kids did so well at the turn of the century. It's tinged with regret, sung and played by guys who have accumulated some hard-won wisdom, and not in the least innovative or daring -- but that's all right. Sometimes it's enough for a band just to make the right noises, even if it's a retread or a nostalgia trip. As long as they do it with the commitment and craft that the Get Up Kids have on Kicker, that is. Whether it's the dawning of a new age of retro-looking records or a one-off blast from the past, Kicker is a welcome return and a raucous homecoming for a once great band that still has something left in the tank.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra