Big hooks abound on this forceful debut by power pop whiz kids Nick Wheeler and Tyson Ritter. Though not yet old enough to legally buy an alcoholic drink in the year 2002, All-American Rejects are capable songwriters, accomplished vocalists, and skilled instrumentalists. Guitar-driven and underpinned with a humane-sounding drum machine cranking out frenetic backbeats, each cut on this self-titled debut brims with harmonies that recall the early Who and classic Beach Boys. Bolstered by the brash bar band bravado akin to the Replacements, the Goo Goo Dolls, and Fastball in all their ragged glory, All-American Rejects passionately render songs about girls, love, self-doubt, and youthful abandon. Cuts such as "Too Far Gone" employ a sympathetic orchestral backdrop, while tracks including "Drive Away," "My Paper Heart," and "One More Sad Song" prove that loud guitars and a broken heart make great rock & roll. A talented band destined for great things, All American Rejects are primed to be embraced by the masses.
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AllMusic Review by Tom Semioli