MxPx - On the Cover II (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


On the Cover II (2009)

Tooth & Nail

One would expect the cover album formula for pop-punk bands to be completely worn thin by now, which is why it's rather shocking that MxPx's On the Cover II, a full-length sequel to their 1995 EP of the same name, is enjoyable at all. But it is. Granted, that enjoyability is based on total subjectivity. Do you enjoy a good handful of `80s alternative and mainstream punk singles? Then you'll probably enjoy this. If not, welp, you're shit out of luck.

After slamming through the Dead Milkmen's "Punk Rock Girl" with just enough aplomb, things actually pick up for their take on U2's "I Will Follow." That opening lead riff is naturally sped-up and the band simply blast through a simple, stripped-down version of it (with those snappy chimes carefully placed in the background) and Herrera hastily shouting "walk away walk away / I will walk away walk away" without making it seem too forced. There's definitely no Angels and Airwaves-isms in this one.

Meanwhile, Descendents' "Suburban Home" is done totally competent, and the band decide to randomly place the chorus of "Surrender" within the Proclaimers' "(I'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles" -- it shouldn't work, but somehow, it does, and the flow isn't interrupted at all. It's snappy and quick.

The album's best impersonation probably lies in Ramones' "My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes to Bitburg)" -- Herrrera sounds more impassioned than most of MxPx's original songs, the echo on the vocals is actually replicated fairly well and the tambourine shakes are smart and subtle. It does help that this was probably one of the Ramones' more complex singles around that time (and that most bands choose "Blitzkrieg Bop" or something else when covering them live).

Despite a pretty dead-on cameo from Agent M for the sped-up "Heaven Is a Place on Earth" (Belinda Carlisle), the second half isn't quite as creative or generally effective, but it bookends things well enough, with "Kids in America" (Kim Wilde) pretty punchy too.

On the Cover II is augmented by mildly humorous, impersonating promo shots of the Proclaimers, Ramones, U2 and others. Gotta include something in that booklet when you can't do lyrics, right? So, a nice contribution there.

MxPx's newer full-lengths have surprised fans by being surprisingly solid, so I guess it shouldn't be that outrageous that some admirable effort was put into other projects like this. Now let's just hope their next albm is an actual one and not another goddamn compilation.

Punk Rock Girl
Suburban Home
(I'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles
Linda Linda (English)
medley of various songs