Left Coast Punk EP

Written by: PP on 23/11/2009 23:40:10

Mxpx have been churning out solid 90s melodic punk album after album for about 17 years now, amounting into eight full length records and six EP's if we are to include their newest outing, "Left Coast Punk EP". They're from the West Coast in case you didn't get their...err...subtle reference, and they've championed the sound from the area that isn't So-Cal more or less since... well, 1994's "Pokinatcha". But you of course know that already, so lets hastily move onto business because it has been a long while since Mxpx has written songs this good.

Opening with a Fat Mike (NOFX)-esque bass-line, "One Step Further" fires away tight skatepunk with all cylinders maxed out. It takes just half a minute to reach the first chorus, and I'll be damned if you aren't singing along to "One step closer that's a far away, one step closer and I'm proud to say, one step further from the man I was yesterday" after just one listen to the track. Factor in that it's been a while since we've heard Mxpx this raw, unpolished, and breakneck speed without it sounding like an absolute mess, and you've got a track capable of converting the most stubborn melodic punk naysayer into the genre (neema: I'm looking at you). No breathing room given to the listener then as "Desperate To Understand" one ups the pace instantly after "One Step Further" finishes and thrashes its way through the catchiest chorus I remember Mxpx writing since the stuff on "Life In General". Halfway through the song I'm starting to realize that something has definitely happened in the Mxpx camp since 2007's "Secret Weapon", because the band are playing with all the conviction and energy of their youth days, as if every member in the band has re-discovered their talent for writing the same astonishing melodies and dynamics that made Mxpx (criminally underrated) legends in the first place. The track even has a quintessential old school Mxpx moment where tempo is halved, and Herrera is given space to croon emotionally with his unique voice, before the instruments curve to the final 100 meter part of the race where they come only inches short of beating Bolt's ridiculous world record from earlier this year.

Lets just say that I'm blown away by the first two tracks. They're easily the best tracks in the genre since No Use For A Name put out "The Feel Good Record Of The Year" over a year and a half ago, so if you're not feeling them, you should probably consider scheduling a doctor's appointment as soon as possible. Preferably for one who specializes in ear damage. If the relentless speed is a bit too much, then check out "Broken", which sounds a little more like the slower songs on "Panic!", which was a really good album now that I think about it, but even here I'm struggling to remember when Mxpx would've sounded this dark, powerful and rough around the edges. They're almost stepping on Bad Religion territory! The chorus melody is ear candy once again, demanding your repeat button to be worn down to the point that it's stuck. Not that it would matter though because the song rocks.... although I guess after a hundred listens in a row, the song could possibly lose its appeal.

Next up, the atmosphere lightens up a bit with "Shanghaied In Shanghai" but not at the cost of yet another ridiculously catchy chorus plus some of Herrera's sublime bass playing. "Hopeless Case" then continues between a medium and a high tempo, and its chorus contains the first moment on the entire EP where I'm not 100% sold. We're only a few percentage points off in any case, but it drops the rating by half a point simply because there are so few songs on offer. As a fitting finish to the EP, Herrera sings "It's that time again.... the show has now come to an end, it's time to go home [...] stay out all night long because no-one wants to go home" in the acoustic guitar-driven "The End". I'll second that, I wish there were another five songs on this record.

Download: Desperate To Understand, Broken, One Step Further
For the fans of: No Use For A Name, Lagwagon, NOFX, Bad Religion
Listen: Myspace

Release date 17.11.2009
Rock City Recording Company

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