While The Get Up Kids’ 2008 reunion tour felt like a cash grab after the group’s 2005 farewell tour, their new EP, Simple Science, legitimizes their return. It also suggests where the band might have gone had their 2002 foray into indie rock, On a Wire, not freaked out all the young people who demanded their favorite emo band stay pop punk.
A prelude to an eventual full-length, Simple Science finds the Kids finally exploring more atmospheric areas over the course of four songs. It helps that the band recorded to two-inch tape instead of digital, lending the new tunes an earthy quality sorely missing from 2004’s Guilt Show. That they’ve also moved from referencing Pee-Wee Herman to William S. Burroughs is another indication of the Kids’ maturation.
Opener “Your Petty Pretty Things” is the most rocking pick here, although it still would’ve felt lethargic compared to Something to Write Home About. Bottom-heavy “Keith Case” opens with some noise before moving into a hypnotic groove powered by Rob Pope’s bass and James Dewees’ flitting keyboard. “Tommy Gentle” eases up a bit before the six-minute “How You’re Bound” opens up the space.
For these recordings, The Get Up Kids opted to only embrace ideas that seemed to work right away, to keep the songs simple and solid. It paid off. If Simple Science is any indication, the Kids’ fifth full-length could render the band’s backlash and break-up from last decade a mere footnote.