Sound — 9
Let's Rock, the latest release from pop punk band MXPX is one that the dedicated fans of the veteran band will undoubtedly eat up. While it is not a full-length release, the collection of unreleased tracks and B-Sides is one that has enough catchy tunes that general listeners will find appealing. While the band is not necessarily the rawest form of punk around these days, it does have a way of writing memorable and likeable songs. What may be a bit of a disappointment for some fans is that a few of the tracks are B-sides that have basically just been re-recorded by vocalist/bassist Mike Herrera, guitarist Tom Wisniewski, and drummer Yuri Ruley. But for the majority of audiences out there, it's likely that songs like You Walk, I Run and Make Up Your Mind will have never been heard before and be a welcome addition to Let's Rock. Make Up Your Mind is one of the most memorable tracks on the CD, and it's easy to understand why this unreleased track made the cut on the CD. While the song is primarily chord-driven, the vocals in the choruses are still delivered in an extremely infectious way by Herrera. The best track on Let's Rock is Where Did You Go, which features a dreamy sounding guitar intro that makes a big impression even in it's simplicity. The song has a slower tempo than most punk purists will tolerate, but MXPX fans likely adore this side of the band as much as the harder edge. It would have been nice to hear a bit more of the guitar within the song, but the arrangement does keep a stripped-down approach and steers clear of any solos. The 3 acoustic tracks on the CD do create a good contrast in the sound of the first part of the CD, but some might question why the band could not have added another new song rather than just replaying You Walk, I Run (the 1st track) as the last acoustic song. But considering this is an in-between album to tie fans over until the next official full-length, Let's Rock is a lot more than what a lot of bands give fans these days.
Lyrics — 8
For punk lovers, MXPX might just be a little too lightweight in the lyrics department. While MXPX has been called a Christian band or alternatively a band made up of Christians, that fact is never blatantly spewed out in its lyrics. This punk band is not for starting a revolution necessarily, and that suits the musical side just fine. In 1 And 3, primary lyrics writer Herrera offers up an interesting array of thoughts about the world today. He sings, What about the lies they're telling you? The first is filled with opulence and luxury; The third is full of starvation and poverty. The lyrics may not be inflammatory like more hardcore punk bands might write, but the band deserves credit for going beyond the typical relationship song. There are plenty of songs that do deal with the heart on Let's Rock, and depending on what you like in a punk band may or may not annoy you. The band has covered this territory before, however, and it's fans will not be turned off by a few love songs.
Overall Impression — 9
MXPX might not be breaking new ground with Let's Rock, but considering it's not the next official full-length, the band has put out a satisfying mix of tunes. It is likely that you'll easily familiarize with the tracks after the first listen -- they are just that catchy. While the word catchy might be the kiss of death for a lot of punk bands, it has worked out well for MXPX. For those who might not be hardcore followers of the band, the 3 acoustic numbers might seem completely unnecessary. With ballads already heard in the first part of the CD, there does not seem to be a huge need for these numbers. But for the devotees of MXPX, these tracks could likely be the favorites. The acoustic songs allow Herrera to display what his songs probably sounded like from the start, and that is an intimate experience that most MXPX fans will want to share.