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|11. Bass So Low|
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Coming full circle in their illustrious career, MxPx has rejoined forces with Tooth & Nail Records after over 10 years since their first release. As well as partnering once again with producer Aaron Sprinkle (Anberlin, Emery, Demon Hunter) who was responsible for the bands early career, manning the controls on their very first LP "Pokinatcha." Their return to their roots promises to be an invigorating and dominate release that will be a capstone on who MXPX was, and show to the world what this band has become. "This record has something for everyone, the fun, fast pop-punk we all love about MxPx, as well as a more artistic and progressive angle, that shows the bands immense talents and skills" says A&R Jonathan Dunn "This record will put MxPx back on the top of the music world, and re-introduce them to loyal fan base, as well as expand them well beyond the limits thought possible with the band." Secret Weapon is poised to be this summers blockbuster.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
isn't Life In General Pt.2, so don't expect a whole
album's worth of rapid-fire drumming and songs about
Elvis and Punk rock shows. Do expect an honest, confident
album that reminds us why we love MXPX and why we'll
continue to love them. The title track, seems to be the
album's blessing and curse. The blessing is that
when we all heard the leak a few months back, it confirmed
that they were definitely back. The curse however is that
quite a few songs on the first half sound like this
and If it weren't the nicely done "American Idiot" styled
breakdown on "Punk Rock Heroes" I'd think it was the same song.
However when they're not trying to emulate Bad Religion/Pennywise,
they pull off some the best music they've had in a long while.
For one, I was never a huge fan of their political or "angry songs" because I've got a million albums by a million punks
bands that have covered these themes a million times.
What I've always loved about MXPX was their optimistic, yet honest view on life, their fun songs and of most of all, the songs about the complicated, unpredictable species known as the woman. Yeah, Mike's still having girl problems and as a result, still writing great songs about relationships and yeah, there are a some VERY "Life In General" moments on this album. There are a few filler cuts but if you've bought all the other ones, you should be use to this by now. This isn't by any means a perfect album but this might be their most focused album to date. Once you get over the fact that it isn't as fast as you thought it would be, you'll love the album.
So, being that I have not all that much to compare it to, I'll just start with Panic. I don't actually thing this album is as strong as Panic was, and it makes me wonder why they abandoned their Sideonedummy journey to return to an older record label. Oh well. The CD is still good ol' fasion catchy pop-rock with obvious punk influence and roots. When you listen to an MXPX song or album, there's always the chance that it's gonna be a little too slow and melodic for my tastes, so when I popped this in and heard the first two tracks, it did wonders to ease the anxiety.
Start to finish this CD is pretty well put together, but it does have a few moments when it bottoms out. There are 19 tracks if you buy the copy from... I don't really remember where I got mine, but it had 3 extra tracks, but they could have shortened it to about 15 tracks, ommiting "Angels" "Drowning" "Never Better Than Now" and "You're on Fire" and it would have been a stronger release, those songs are kind of bland and boring.
Everything else is very nice and appealing to the ears. Tom's guitar and Mike's bass do very well together especially in songs where they both have moments to shine like "Shut it Down" "Bass So Low" and "Sad Sad Song" Mike's vocals are right on key once you get used to it (for some reason it took me a while) and the songs often change from slow to fast without or with little warning. The lyrics cover both petty topics like teenage obsession with electronics and myspace and heavier subjects like relationships and the music industries constant pressure on bands to "sell out." All in all it's good fun to listen to when you're in a good mood or when you're in a bad mood and WANT to be in a good mood.
I originally gave this 4 stars but then I couldn't go through with it 'cause I gave bands like "Suicide Machines" and "Time Again" 4 stars, and those bands are definitely better than this one. If I could go three and a half I would but for now it's three. Ultimately worth picking up. I can't suggest where new fans should start 'cause I'm a relatively new fan myself, so maybe someone can tell me where my new MXPX purchase should be.
Highlight tracks: "Shut it Down" "Contention" "Chop Shop" "Bass So Low" "Biting the Bullet" and "Not Nothing" Wow, they have a lot of really good songs on here. Get this CD.
At the same time, as much as I really like this album, I did find myself wishing they had pushed themselves more beyond the standard pop-punk idioms into some more unique (and less "poppy") song structures (and less "ahh's," "hey's," and "yeaaah's"). Similarly, the production is a little too shiny at times for my taste and could benefit from rougher edges and more dynamism. Lyrically, this album is on par with their other more recent releases, reflecting hopefulness alongside angst. My only complaint lyrically is that Mike Herrera too frequently mines the band's record-label-trauma angst, as he did in the album Panic.
I purchased the special edition (with DVD), and found the "documentary" and the minimal other bonus features to be pretty lame. To give you an idea of what I mean, one of the bonus features trails the guitar tech for five minutes or so through the grocery store while he purchases spaghetti for a band meal. Um, yeah. Another feature shows Mike Herrera walking around the band's purported apartment, which shows nothing of the apartment itself. The documentary itself is basically just Mike, Tom, and Yuri in the studio hanging out doing nothing and occassionally saying a few words in an interview or recording. Pretty boring. In short, I definitely do not think the special edition is worth the extra three bucks I paid for it.
Overall, this is a strong release from MxPx that old and new fans alike will celebrate. Pick up the CD, but leave the Special Edition version on the shelf.