All Time Low, PMA (ft Pale Waves)
Fueled By Ramen
If you’d have said even just a year ago that pop-punk legends All Time Low would be collabing on a track with the UK shimmer-indie scene’s fastest rising stars Pale Waves, we’d have been baffled. Excited, but unable to pin down how it would possibly sound at all. Well, After a year of All Time Low soaring through the charts, and Pale Waves one pop-punk-tinged record deeper, the union makes a lot more sense – and listening to PMA, it’s a magical pairing.
PMA asserts its arrival immediately – in what’s become a trademark ATL move after the likes of Some Kind Of Disaster, they jump straight in with that infectious chorus hook, setting the pace with a big churn of riffs before we turn to the moodier verses. The beat brushes with the poppier side of ATL, impossibly fast and buzzy, but the classic pop-punk guitar countermelodies keep us pinned down – and then there we go. A stripped back build, a crescendo of noise, and a euphoric, made-to-be-yelled-out “WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO FIX ME FOR! MAYBE I’M BROKEN BUT I’M NOT SURE!”.
As a duo, All Time Low’s Alex Gaskarth and Pale Waves’s Heather Baron Gracie are excellent. Gaskarth’s oh-so-familiar tones ground the sleeker All Time Low sound in the passion, excitement and energy we’ve loved all these years – after Wake Up, Sunshine’s return to ATL’s roots and the powerful, legacy-acknowledging Once In A Lifetime, it’s clear that All Time Low are surging forwards musically with a strong sense of who they are at their core, and PMA puts this across too. Conversely, HBG is almost unrecognisable – famed for her silvery, indie-pop intonations, PMA sees her taking on a lower range and tapping into a new kind of power (ATL fans who haven’t met Pale Waves yet, check out You Don’t Own Me and Tomorrow for more of this, plus more sparkly guitar melodies).
PMA feels like yet another triumphant victory lap for All Time Low – we aren’t quite sure where this is leading, but it really feels like in solidifying their sound, they’ve shed any kind of pressure and are going wherever things take them. And with every release, no misses in sight, we trust them even more.
PMA is out now.