After a few years of utter nothingness that brought us a medicore full-length in 2003 (Before Everything And After) and a lacking compilation disc (Ten Years And Running), MxPx made a label switch and tried to release an album in the vein of their earlier releases. I found the result a pleasant if not forced surprise that puts it on par with Slowly Going The Way Of The Buffalo.
I'll give my impressions on some of the standout and ignorable tracks. The album begins with the infectious, up-tempo beat of "The Darkest Places." "Young And Depressed" is a song extremely reminiscent of SGTWOTB, with the exception of an unneeded, ballad-like section. "Heard That Song" is an enjoyable listen but the remedial, repetitive lyrics of the chrous quickly take away the appeal of the song. "Cold Streets" and "The Story" dont feel like MxPx songs to me for some reason, but I think that is simply because these remind me of their later, forgettable stuff.
"Wrecking Hotel Rooms" and "Kicking And Screaming" are two mediocre tracks (the latter especially) that drone on and on until you finally reach your finger to the skip track button.
"Grey Skies Turn Blue" is another catchy, radio-friendly track that deals with relationships (what a shock). For whatever reason, I find myself liking "Emotional Anarchist" more than I expected after my intial listen. This slow track features some well-placed rhymes and, best of all, doesn't fall into the trap of being as repetitively dull as some of the other tracks (which I found to be my biggest complaint). "Get Me Out" feels like a pressured attempt to create a harder sounding, almost hardcore song. The song itself doesnt bother me but it feels far from real when listening to it. "Waiting For The World To End" is another track that reminds me of material off SGTWOTB and stands as one of the better tracks, a song that seems to contemplate the meaning behind the current happenings in the world.
Overall, I find this a step back in the right direction for MxPx. This material is certainly better than the crap on their last record, and contains a collection of songs that have a sing-along quality and will garner a listen occasionally. The main thing dragging it down are too many dull and monotonous-feeling rhythms. Besides that, at times I get the feeling like the songs are not natural for the band and they are simply trying to return to a time they aren't able to really capture at this point and time. Nonetheless, kudos to the band for making an attempt to return to the sound their fans favor.
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