released Oct 19th, 2010
from the album - Dance Forever
The emo-pop quartet Allstar Weekend was formed in 2007 by Zachary Porter (vocals), Nathan Darmody (guitar), Cameron Quiseng (bass), and Michael Martinez (drums) in San Diego, CA, while all four members were still in high school. Inspired by hometown heroes like blink-182 and classic rock icons like Queen and Elton John, Allstar Weekend began writing songs and playing shows around their hometown. While they were building their local fan base, the bandmembers also wrote and recorded songs for their MySpace page. These early tracks caught the ear of the duo behind Drive-Thru Records, Richard and Stefanie Reines, who became their managers. The next step was national attention, and Allstar Weekend got plenty when they were picked for Radio Disney’s Next Big Thing promotion in 2008, which resulted in a contract with Hollywood Records.
The first single released by the band, “A Different Side of Me,” reached the top of Radio Disney’s Top 30 Countdown and sold over 100,000 copies. Meanwhile, Allstar Weekend's YouTube videos (for the aforementioned single and “Journey to the End of My Life”) racked up an impressive amount of viewings, and their debut mini-album Suddenly was released in June 2010. Produced by a set of proven emo-pop producers (Howard Benson, John Feldmann, and S*A*M & Sluggo), the record showcased the band’s youthful exuberance and knack for a catchy chorus. The band spent the rest of the year on the road playing a mix of venues that included Army bases, children’s museums, theme parks, and concert halls.
The members of the San Diego quartet Allstar Weekend met when they were in high school, and after a few years of gigging and making their debut EP, they still sound like they are in high school. The sunny, breezy emo pop sound of Suddenly is geared for teenagers who want something a little more punk that the Jonas Brothers but not punk enough to muss up anyone’s carefully styled hair. The group writes very catchy songs with very teenage concerns: songs about identity, crushes, painful breakups, how awesome weekends are, and how rad it would be to suddenly become a rock star. Zachary Porter delivers the words in a sweet and innocent style, the band provides some energy, and the production team (which features big names like Howard Benson and S*A*M & Sluggo) covers the basic rock setup of guitar, bass, and drums with all kinds of keyboards, effects, and modern production tricks. It’s a very slick presentation that’s perfect for radio, destined for mall stores and -- unfortunately for the band -- utterly generic and forgettable. It’s all style with no substance, all trimmings with no main course. A little bit of dirt in the production, a little less bombast in the stadium-friendly choruses, or some semblance of a unique perspective would have gone a long way in making this something more than just another in a long line of records that sound exactly like this. It’s too bad, because the band has some talent beneath all the layers of paint. Perhaps if they had been given a chance to develop their own sound before they were swallowed by the machine, this record would be worth hearing. As it stands, though, if you are in the mood for some emo pop you can do much better elsewhere.
1 Come Down With Love
2 Hey, Princess
3 Dance Forever
4 Catching Up
5 A Different Side of Me
6 Here With You
8 Clock Runs Out
9 Can't Sleep Tonight
10 Journey to the End of My Life
11 The Weekend Darmody, Feldmann, Porter 3:20