Is there any point in We The Kings releasing a new album? No one has really cared about them since Check Yes Juliet in 2008 (or at the very, very latest, Say You Like Me in 2011), and after 2015’s disastrous pop experiment Strange Love in 2015, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to think their career had stalled out for good. But apparently there’s still a market for painfully derivative and uninteresting pop-rock, and thus Six serves as not only something of an attempted course correction, but also a means of sating those dubious desires.
Even so, you’d be hard pressed to find anything of the sort here. Sure, there are improvements (however extremely marginal they may be), but that doesn’t stop Six from being such an unavoidably flimsy and lifeless album that serves absolutely no purpose within pop-rock whatsoever. The influence is so blatant too, with the over-emphasis on featureless electronics and Travis Clark’s weedy, saccharine vocals drawing heavily from All Time Low’s Last Young Renegade. But at least All Time Low can write halfway decent songs; here, We The Kings rely on such tired subject matter that does nothing for them, like nondescript summer flings on Ocean And The Sun and Festival Music, or syrupy self-esteem ballads on Alive and Immortal, none of which feel even remotely interesting, and when Clark tries to rap on the latter, it’s just flat-out embarrassing.
But really, when a band’s sixth album flatlined from the very first track, it’s hard to really define what the most embarrassing thing is. And make no mistake, Six has next to nothing going for it. It’s not a good sign when more stable, propulsive hooks like on On My Love and Even If It Kills Me feel like major flukes, but they’re a godsend compared to how dull and throwaway everything else feels, from the cringeworthy tartness that simply oozes from Ride and What I Wouldn’t Give to production polished within an inch of its life with electronic burbles on the likes on Mama Knows Best that just don’t belong here. And even with all that, hardly a single moment stands out in any positive way, or feels like anything more than a throwaway waste of time.
But what do you really expect from We The Kings at this point? They’ve never been A-listers, even at their prime, and at the peak of irrelevance like they’re at now, they’re only going further and further downhill. And really, it’s hard to know, not only who Six is for, but who actually asked for it in the first place, the last feeble gasp from a band who’d be better off calling it quits than making fools out themselves yet again by trying to revive a career that barely had a pulse in the first place.
For fans of: The Cab, The Summer Set, All Time Low
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Six’ by We The Kings is out now on S-Curve Records.