If you ask me, I'm not a particular fan of re-issues, re-releases or repackages of albums, mostly because the extra material included in them never really justifies its inclusion in the first place. Moreover, it brings to mind how commercial record companies are in making such redundant decisions. However, in All Time Low's case, their re-release of 2012's Don't Panic, which includes four new tracks and three acoustic numbers, can be said to be worth the listen.
Titled Don't Panic: It's Longer Now (perhaps for obvious reasons), the band's fifth studio effort was met with generally positive reviews, and showcased how far lead singer Alex Gaskarth and gang have come since their high-school origins. Of the additional tracks, the Vic Fuentes' (Pierce The Veil) aided single, A Love Like War, is probably one of my favourites as it meshes well with the vibes of Don't Panic. It's boisterous and everything pop-punk should be, with impressive harmonies, an anthemic chorus, kick-ass guitar riffs and some banging drums.
On a more sombre note, Oh Calamity! turns things down half a notch with its doleful message of struggling to come to terms with a broken relationship. Gaskarth's vocals are expressive enough in this track to make it ever so persuasive, and the electric guitar complements the solemn tone.
Mid-album number Canals is funky and upbeat, and at first doesn't seem to gel with its neighbouring tracks, with its jarring Maroon 5-esque introduction. It's something fresh and encompasses an aptly-injected cockiness that saves this song from being anything but a filler. Afterwards, I understand how well it segues into The Irony of Choking on a Lifesaver, introducing us to the second-half of the album.
On a whole, Gaskarth and friends have managed to put out an album that has been some of the most fun pop punk music has heard in recent years, and it's only a matter of time that they come up with a new album full of new material to ignite a riot and excite a crowd as fervently as Don't Panic: It's Longer Now does.
Track Cuts: Oh Calamity!, Me Without You (All I Ever Wanted), A Love Like War