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Review by Alex Bear | March 19, 2014 at 2:00 PM

“We’re all just weird kids in the end” is the mantra pop punk favorites We Are The In Crowd want you to keep on singing — and you definitely will be long after you’ve finished listening to their sophomore album, Weird Kids.

With its ethereal, echoing start, “Long Live The Kids” serves as a tantalizing introduction before exploding into a full-blown anthem destined to be chanted at shows by every self-proclaimed “weird kid” out there. This opener makes it immediately clear that We Are The In Crowd have returned in full-force, and whatever may have been holding them back before is gone.

“The Best Thing (That Never Happened)” is when that is fully realized. Downright dramatic and completely in-your-face, this song is for everyone who has ever screwed you over. Throw in a few synths, a ton of badass gang vocals, and even some maniacal laughter in the bridge, and you’ve got the essential breakup track of the year. The following track, “Manners”, may be slightly calmer than its predecessor, but it’s a song you definitely don’t want to skip. Tay Jardine’s soaring vocals are answered by Jordan Eckes’ often guttural replies, proving the Poughkeepsie quintet aren’t afraid to get personal.

Slowing it down with an irresistible acoustic-led number, “Come Back Home” takes us down another stylistic turn in the road. This is where the band’s honest, heartfelt lyrics are at their best, with lines like “Remember picking out who we wanna be/ Back when we didn’t know anything” showing for the first time that beneath the poppy surface is a band you can really get to know and love. But it’s the winding guitar solo from Cameron Hurley that pierces the melody’s bright and sunny skies to give this song its charm, short but extra sweet.

Up next and ready to wake you from your reverie is Weird Kids‘ first single “Attention”. Dynamic and upbeat, this is a song about unity, and it fits — the band’s setup is tighter than ever. But just before you get too comfortable, “Dreaming Out Loud” hits hard and fast with some gritty, tenacious riffs that will appeal to the fans of heavier pop punk. We Are The In Crowd seem to recognize that they’re just like the kids at all their shows — only they made it, and from the incredible variety of genres, styles, and influences they pull off with ease, you can see why.

Back to their trademark sugary pop punk, “Remember (To Forget You)” is the track that’s going to end up on all your mixtapes this summer. The bouncing melodies rounded off with a punchy breakdown checks all the boxes of an instant classic. And keeping up that summery feel, “Don’t You Worry” is powerful enough to fill a stadium. A bittersweet ballad about Jardine’s older sister, this is an open letter to anyone facing a hard time, as uplifting as its sublime melodies. Getting even more personal, “Windows In Heaven” has Jardine addressing her late father, sending chills spiralling around the room. Almost completely stripping the music down to a single pounding beat highlights the beauty of her haunting, questioning voice.

Closing track “Reflections” saves the best until last, with a huge chorus that really shows the maturity of the band, and hammers the message of Weird Kids home: “Destiny is overrated so I think I’ll write my own.” They’ve taken all the best elements of their earlier works, Guaranteed To Disagree and Best Intentions, and used them as a platform to expand into the realm of writing true pop punk anthems.

You can’t deny the relentless energy poured into every note on the album, and while the tracks may jump around in style, it’s only to show off the variety of talent at work here. Weird Kids is a giant middle finger in the air to every expectation pushed upon the band from the very beginning. And in making this album, they’ve created something which will not only make you want to hit repeat, but convince you that We Are The In Crowd are destined for success.

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