I agree that the sound has changed, and I was hoping to hear a more traditional sound, but considering I had heard "Regent's Court," "Shatter Your Lungs," "Automatic," and "Kieth Case" before the album came out, I was used to some of the weirdness. I'm still getting used to it. And anyone who had purchased their Simple Science EP last year, this album, while still being somewhat surprising, shouldn't be so much of a sucker-punch.
I will say that the traditional sound is still there, just never in one piece. For example, "Shatter Your Lungs" has very traditional Get Up Kids vocals and drumming, but that's it. The rest of the song seems out of nowhere. I'm starting to really like it though. The last track, "Rememorable" seems to carry the same Get Up Kids guitar style and on occasion, reminds me of their earlier work, but other than that, it sounds quite different. I'd say the same for "Pararelevent." "Regent's Court" is perhaps the closest to a traditional sound, but we're not talking "I'm a Loner Dottie, A Rebel," so much as "Wouldn't Believe It." The only song I'm not digging and can't see myself ever liking is "Birmingham." I've been listening to it, trying to like it. I could see it being pretty cool in concert, but I don't get out to concerts much.
I'm not going to say whether this is a bad thing. Frankly, with Get Up Kids fans, it's too personal to say. All I will say is that when On a Wire came out, I was not a fan. Hell, I was even hoping they'd not make another album and focus on The New Amsterdams. And then Guilt Show showed up, and years passed and now, On a Wire is one of my favorite albums by them, one of my favorite albums period. Something to Write Home About was a great album, yes. It's my favorite. But I'm not ruling out There Are Rules. I certainly don't think this is the best album they've released, but it's definitely the most interesting. Each song kept me guessing.
I give it a five because I have a feeling that in three years, this will be one of my favorite Get Up Kids' album. I'm already feeling like rocking out in my apartment to it. That's a good sign.