The Get Up Kids

Guilt Show (Vagrant)

Against the Ropes
On message boards and mix tapes, the Get Up Kids once galvanized "emo" as the emotionally relevant rebirth of punk for the Y Generation. The Kansas band led the vanguard of a cultural coup that revolutionized the underground zeitgeist by fusing post-punk staples (Braid, Jawbox, etc.), navel-gazing confessions, and crunchy pop choruses.

The band's fourth full-length release, Guilt Show, finds that the Get Up Kids of 2004 bear no resemblance to those revolutionaries. The 14-track collection revs up with "Man of Conviction," a minute and a half of airbrushed mall punk. On it, singer Matt Pryor begins the sing-along nonsense ("The blood from the cut that is sealing/And you gasp in the air where you're breathing") in an overly affected, pitch-corrected snarl. The other uptempo singles ("Martyr Me," "How Long Is Too Long") employ similarly banal babble, but the slow jams' messages border on parody. "You're killin' me with sincerity," Pryor poses on "Dark Night of the Soul." "Redemption is a bitch to end on." You're telling us.

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