The All-American Rejects mature, impress through fourth album

The title of The All-American Rejects’ fourth album, “Kids in the Street,” doesn’t appropriately describe the record. The rock band has ditched their youthful catchy tunes for mature and emotional ballads.

Even the up-tempo tracks, like “Someday’s Gone,” “Beekeeper’s Daughter” (which features a horn section) and “Fast and Slow,” show that the Rejects are past their teenage-punk phase. Those first three tracks are the only lively ones on the record; ballads dominate “Kids in the Street” after “Fast and Slow.”

Lead guitarist Nick Wheeler and lead singer Tyson Ritter, who have composed and written all of the Rejects’ albums, once again made every track just as memorable. “Affection” and “Heartbeat Slowing Down” show just how strong Ritter’s vocals are, which is something previous albums didn’t really accomplish.

Although it was an unexpected variation in style, the Oklahoma rockers made the experimental changes work. The up-tempo songs take you back to ‘80s rock and the ballads truly dig deep into Wheeler and Ritter’s thoughts and the Rejects’ sound. Nothing is left unsaid or untouched.

It’s been four years since the band’s last album, “When the World Comes Down,” but “Kids in the Street” was worth the wait. Without a doubt, it is the Rejects’ best album yet.