Much of the discussion about All Time Low’s upcoming Dirty Work album (which, sadly, is not named after the truly excellent Norm Macdonald film) has centered around the band’s grown-up, “gritty” sound and what that means for the future of pop-punk’s reigning class clowns.
So, not surprisingly, when All Time Low stopped by MTV News last week, they decided to clarify that “gritty” comment, because, to be quite honest, they’re sort of getting tired of talking about it.
“When I said ‘gritty,’ I wouldn’t say so much in terms of, like, what My Chemical Romance may have been going for on their new album … it’s definitely not anything like that,” ATL frontman Alex Gaskarth said. “It’s more in the sense of, the last album came out sounding very, very polished. … We write music that really falls on the line between rock and pop and, a lot of the time, I feel like the deciding factor at the end of the day is how much production happens in post, and with the last one, we feel like maybe it leaned a little too pop for our band.”
That doesn’t mean, of course, that the guys in All Time Low regret making the shiny, snotty Nothing Personal, or anything of the sort. It’s just that they don’t feel like making it… again. Hence the big guitars, somewhat serious subject matter and rough-finish of Dirty Work.
“No regrets, it definitely was an awesome, awesome album,” Gaskarth said. “It’s just one of those things where, I think over the year and a half that it’s been out we’ve sort of been able to approach it from all different angles,” he explained. “When it first comes out, obviously you’re really excited about it, and that’s all you really pay attention to, but when you have a little time to step away and listen again, you kind of see everything you did right, but everything you’d maybe like to change next time.”
Perhaps the biggest change of all? Taking a step back production-wise, a move that, for the first time on disc, has All Time Low sounding very much like a band just setting up in a room and letting it rip. You can call it maturation or you call it “gritty,” and you wouldn’t be wrong either way. But the guys in ATL have a very different way of describing Dirty Work.
“With Nothing Personal … we were like, ‘OK, this is our record, we can do whatever we want. We know how to record now, we know what we want.’ And so we threw everything that we thought was, like, ‘great production’ against the wall,” drummer Rian Dawson said. “And it sounded great, but at the end of the day, we were kind of like, ‘This kind of sounds like. … ‘
” ‘It sounds like unicorn poop,’ ” Gaskarth added.
And judging by everything All Time Low are saying, Dirty Work is shaping up to be the very definition of an “anti-unicorn poop” album. That’s certainly better than calling it “gritty,” right?
Are you looking forward to new ATL music? Let us know in the comments!