Forever the Sickest Kids’ album J.A.C.K lets fans know that after experimenting with different sounds and themes they finally defined their pop-punk sound.
FTSK released their first album Underdog Alma Matter in 2008, which attracted many new fans with its singles “Hey Brittany,” “Whoa Oh! (Me vs. Everyone),” and “She’s a Lady.” In 2009 they released their EP This Weekend: Friday. Reactions to the EP were mixed. Fans loved it, hated it, or fell in-between. It had more playful lyrics than UAM and was even more pop due to the lack of the hard guitar riffs and more computerized fillers.
Their self-titled was released in 2011. Two months before the release Kent Garrison announce via Twitter he was leaving the band to “pursue other opportunities.” In Sept. 2011 Marc Stewart announced via Twitter he was also leaving the band. The Texas natives had the same issue with their self-titled as they did with their EP. Many fans of their debut album did not like the turn the band took to a less cheerful pop sound but they gained new fans especially with their singles “Keep on Bringing Me Down,” and “What Happened to Emotion (Killing Me).”
Their new album J.A.C.K, and acronym for the current members Jack, Austin, Caleb and Kyle, is the happy medium between their debut album and their self-titled.
J.A.C.K was first introduced with the two singles “Chin Up Kid,” and “Nice to Meet You,” which are not the big hit songs on the album. These songs would not persuade one individually to keep on listening but they fit in perfectly with the rest of the album. Luckily their album has many other solid songs such as “Nikki,” co-produced and co-written by Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump.
Even though this album has the UAM feel the band wasn’t afraid to experiment. The track “Ritalin (Born in America)” starts off with auto-tuned a cappella vocals, which are very catchy and easy to sing-a-long to. Then out of nowhere “Count on Me (For Nothing)” has a gospel/choir vocal part come out, which surprisingly worked very well.
They continue the patter of including a soft/acoustic track on this album. “My Friends Save Me” has the same feel to UAM’s “Coffee Break.” The best song on the album is “Kick It.” The track is a very poppy summer jam with distorted guitars and hard drumming, what FTSK perfected so well in UAM and has done again.
J.A.C.K is a combination of the feel of UAM, their FTSK electro-pop, and the distorted sound of their self-titled. They wrote 46 songs during production and had to settle for 11. The hard work FTSK put into the album paid off and was well worth the wait.