Foxboro Hot Tubs - Stop Drop and Roll!!! (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Foxboro Hot Tubs

Stop Drop and Roll!!! (2008)

Jingletown Records

It makes perfect sense when you think about it. Try being a long-running band coming off a massively successful album with considerable critical and commercial acclaim; even the best would struggle with the expectations that come from the inevitable followup. However, being Green Day, rather than deliver something to ride the crest of the wave from American Idiot, the band decided to pretend they weren't the world's biggest punk band and head back into the garage for a love letter to `50s rock and roll.

The experiment is not without precedent, as the band previously jumped back into their formative influences to release music as the Network, and even if that album hadn't been a blast, it certainly served its purpose as the band came out of their alter-ego with the aforementioned hit record. Of course, Foxboro Hot Tubs isn't the only bit of sideways experimentation in the Green Day camp; Billie Joe reunited with his friends in Pinhead Gunpower and Tré released, uhm, this thing.

But all that aside, what is the point of the Foxboro Hot Tubs, and is it worth your while?

Clearly, the band is digging into their earliest proto-punk influences, taking elements of the Who, Chuck Berry, early Beatles and even a little Jerry Lee Lewis to produce an admittedly derivative little record. Of course, the band has made no secret of that fact, covering their sites with retro imagery and goofy black and white photography.

Even with its self-consciously borrowed tone, the record is nothing if not fun. With rare exceptions, the band doesn't slow down for the kind of reflection and serious thought that dotted American Idiot, focusing instead on the kind of simple rock'n'roll that could have appeared in The Wild Surf.

Of course, it bears mentioning that the distribution method for the album is decidedly unorthodox for a band like Green Day; the band first gave away six tracks and then opted to sell the second half before packaging the entire set into their download store. Sadly, the download was disappointingly handled; unlike Nine Inch Nails who seem to have raised the bar for DRM-free band-direct downloads, Stop Drop and Roll!!! is hastily assembled, badly encoded and lacking in the kind of tags and other miscellanea which really should accompany an album like this.

The store promises 320kbps stereo MP3s, though a joint-stereo VBR MP3 would have provided much better sound quality. The album itself completely lacked proper tagging information and no album cover accompanied the download. As much fun as the album is, the distribution is quite disappointing and most fans would probably have a better experience with an iTunes or physical CD release.

All in all, the band is unashamed to be aping its heroes, but unfortunately that leads to relatively low replay value compared to Green Day's extensive catalogue. That's not to say it's anything but a simple good time, and it makes for a perfectly serviceable stopgap as you wait for their next full-length.