Sound: MxPx have been around for the last ten years, playing old school teenage pop-punk and not even giving a hope they would ever do anything worth listening to. They've tried everything -? played every possible style of punk, changed three labels, released 10 full length albums and made an unfathomable amount of touring. The result is here -- their new album Panic is to be the most interesting and hopeful for the band. The band's fans should be really happy about the record ? that's what they've been waiting for for a long time. MxPx finally grew up and presented a much more mature material, then everything they've done before. It took them 13 years though, but that's not the point.
The current band's home label is SideOneDummy and they've already released the first single from the album -- "Hear This Sound." Plain clear versus and loud smashing choruses with nice guitar riffs. This album in general has a lot more guitar layers and more faster drumming. There's a portion of evident aggression on the album. "Like Get Me Out" -? not too prolix song with lots of angry screaming "Get me out!" and a heavy breath at the end to intensity the effect. Did he even through the microphone on the floor after he finished singing? The sentimental song of the album is "Wrecking Hotel Rooms" -? a song for a fan, who got lucky enough to spend a night with the musicians. An explanation to all of them. Sweet. "Late Again" reveals the band's American origins -? a crazy cowboy song is the standout on the album. It is supported by a group of guys, named "Bremerton Boys Choir" to create a choir of drunk cowboys in the chorus. The song sounds surprisingly good among typically punk songs. Never thought a country song can sound that punk.
The sad thing about that is it seems like the band gave up inventing anything new in punk music. Being carried by the fashion stream in punk world, MxPx left much of it's staleness sound behind and moved to more melodic and pleasant. At the same time Panic sounds like a bunch of songs we've heard before on their previous releases, the same familiar old sound. // 6
Lyrics: It's obvious the guys didn't take it too serious here. Punk never had a serious poetry anyway. Lyrics are simple and honest. Sometimes maybe too honest to reveal what the musicians are really thinking about. What freaked me out was "You're young and depressed/But you're pretty well dressed" in "Young And Depressed." Is "well dressed" the only rhyme to "depressed"? What does "pretty well dressed" have to do here at all?
Even though this record, unlike previous ones, has much less songs about lost loves and now they are tolerable even for not-teenage audience, still there's not a single song I'd want to sing. I'd feel embraced, singing "Kicking and screaming I want more/I've done thing you can't ignore." I can't find any meaning in here.
The vocals in general are ok ?- clear and distinct in versus and reverbed, with the help of multiplying, in chorus. But the back vocals are primitive in general -? the repeating of the last words sung and in very predictable places. Not that it's too bad, but boring. // 4
Overall Impression: That's the album for those, who don't take music too serious. Being the band's best up-to-date album, it still doesn't impress me much. I mean, I know what punk can sound like (think at least about the last Rise Against album - "Siren Song Of The Counter Culture") and those guys still have so much to achieve. Having listened to Panic a bunch of times, I still haven't a single song stuck in my head. I wouldn't dare to say there're any catchy tunes here. The CD booklet made me wonder -- is that the soundtrack to the next movie about the alien invasion? I realize it's punk and it shouldn't be glittering, but what they put there is just a cheesy collage, which conceivably should scary the shit out of you. Well, yeah, it made me shiver, but for other reasons.
With Panic MxPx didn't bring anything new to the punk world ?- the album is good if you don't pay attention to the details, but not worth listening too carefully to, otherwise you risk to spoil the impression. Just another punk record, quite well-done this time though. // 4