If you were listening to punk rock in the late 90s and early 00s, chances are that Washington’s MxPx and their infectious brand of poppy skate punk were blasting out of your Walkman (or you spent hours ripping tracks such as ‘Everything Sucks (When You’re Gone)’ and ‘Punk Rawk Show’ onto your first MP3 player and thinking you were the height of sophistication).
However, for a band on their tenth studio album and in their twenty fifth year together, this isn’t the nostalgia trip that you might expect.
Opting for a self-titled release as their first studio album in six years and so late into their career might seem like a strange move, but crowdfunding from fans has allowed the band to produce the album that they wanted to make, and one that they say it “feels like MxPx. It’s how we sound. It’s how we feel.”
For the last few years, frontman Mike Herrera has been a touring member of ska punk legends Goldfinger, and also appeared on their 2017 album, ‘The Knife’. Although Goldfinger frontman and super producer John Feldmann didn’t have a hand in the production of this album, his indirect influence can be heard on tracks like ‘All Of It’; a two minute, fast-paced punk rock love song which wouldn’t sound out of place with Feldmann at the helm.
There are some moments of reflection, with closer ‘Moments Like This’ showing Herrera focusing on family and considering his own mortality; a concept at complete odds with earlier MxPx tracks like 2000’s ‘Responsibility’. Meanwhile, ‘Let’s Ride’ looks at escapism and how some things never change.
This isn’t to say that MxPx have grown up and succumbed to the seriousness of middle age. This is an album littered with fist pumping punk rock gems. The anthemic ‘Friday Tonight’ makes reference to a stoner film starring Ice Cube, showing that they’re not ready for their pipe and slippers just yet.
This is the sound of a band guilty of reminiscing on the past at times (who isn’t?), but still very much moving forward on their own terms. Whether you’re new to MxPx or have been a fan for the last couple of decades, this album’s infectious choruses and memorable power chords will have you wanting to dust off your old iPod and blast it on repeat.
Usually found teaching A Levels, drinking gin, digging for vinyl or dancing like an idiot.