Get Up Kids new 'Guilt' trip

The Get Up Kids "Guilt Show" Vagrant Records Pop Rock

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Settle in audience, "Guilt Show" by the Get Up Kids is about to begin. While the rest of us enjoy the "Show" - the fourth offering from the Kansas City quintet - the offending former lover is about to be sent on a 13-track guilt trip. "Guilt Show" plays like a concept album, visiting all the phases of a bitter breakup including regret, denial and despair.

Sure, it's one-sided, but you can't help believing lead singer Matt Pryor when he sings, "What's the reason you're ruining this?" on "Never Be Alone." The quick but pensive "Man of Conviction" opens the album and introduces the two involved characters, immediately recognizing one as the victim and the other as the offender. In "The One You Want," an unnamed friend asks, "How do you do it? Your back's against the wall," and offers advice when he declares, "She's not the one you want." The track's ending includes a killer guitar solo that builds up into some catchy "woo-woos."

The same themes of lost love that we've seen from the Kids since 1997's "Four Minute Mile" are still here, which is a bit frustrating because the members are pushing 30 and have families. But Pryor has adopted a condescending style of wordplay reminiscent of Elvis Costello - think "A Good Year for the Roses."

Musically, the album hinges on James Dewees' keyboards. He uses everything from quiet and complex little fills to thunderous and repetitious chords. Standout work from him includes a simple but effective melody on "Is There a Way Out," which recalls the Postal Service.

Now back to the "Show." Pryor enters denial in "Wouldn't Believe It," which is evident just by reading the title. He hints that infidelity is at the root of the problem when he sings, "Trespass fits you like a charm, scarlet letter on your arm." The album rolls on, and by the final track the two have come full circle, promising to be friends. "Of all the space in this small world, there's room in my life for you girl," he sings on "Conversation."

Fans hoped 2002's "On a Wire" and the single "Overdue" would do for the Kids what "Stay What You Are" and "At Your Funeral" did for Saves the Day. They didn't, but that's because "On A Wire" was too ambitious. "Guilt Show" is planned out well, accomplished and beautifully produced. Buy a ticket to this "Show" because these Kids have grown up.

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