Sunday, January 06, 2008

Blink Car Racer

After the bands 2 year hiatus they got together to record a self titled album and the bands last outing. I imagine this is what the band would have put out if Box Car Racer included Mark Hoppus. You can hear the song writing styles of both throughout this album as it's becoming more prominent that their preferences were changing. We no longer have the consistent sound of say "Dude Ranch" and "Enema Of The State", but more of a compromise of songs.

Here we see the band drop all potty humour and stick with a more mature sound both lyrically and musically. I honestly liked this direction the band was taking. How long could they continue singing about masturbation and poo. In fact, only now are Canadian pop/punkers Sum 41 growing into maturity and I'm digging their last couple of releases. After this post I'll be reviewing both Tom Delonge's and Mark Hoppus/Travis Barker's new bands.

This album starts off with the pop/punky "Feeling This" which is moving and shows some nice production styles. It's hooky with Box Car Racer sensibilities. Box Car Racer is present on tracks like "I Miss You" whose acoustic melody is deliciously repetitive as is "All Of This" which features Robert Smith from the Cure as guest vocals. A sombre gothy tune that's haunting.

"Always" features heavy use of keyboards and is more pop then punk and the album closer "I'm Lost Without You" is a slower melodic ballad with a melancholic epicness and a nice drum solo to end it all.

Blink 182's signature sound is not completely lost and I feel this is strongly influenced by Mark Hoppus on songs like "Easy Target", "Go", "Here's Your Letter" and "Asthenia". "Go" and "Easy Target" are fast and aggressive without sacrificing melody or hooks. After a space sound effect intro "Asthenia" is a pop/punk gem which throws back to an"Enema Of The State" style.

The band experiments on tracks like "Violence" which is a funky pop/punk piece that transitions into "Stockholm Syndrome" with a narrative reading of letters written during WWII. The woman is passionate and the simple piano melody create a heartbreaking atmosphere. A very nice bit. "Stockholm Syndrome" is an aggressive punk tune with piano interludes ("Violence" melodies) and some classic dual vocals by Mark and Tom.

"Down"s sombre aggression is uber catchy and has a nice uplifting chorus. "The Fallen Interlude" is the strangest song here. It is a Pink Floyd-ian influenced funk piece with some fine drum work and atmospheric guitars. It's an interesting song which feels a little out of place.

My favourite tracks are the acoustic pieces "I Miss You" and the Cure induced "All Of This", but "Down" is a great song as is "Feeling This". This is not the Blink album I reach for a lot (Dude Ranch and Enema Of The State are my favourites) but I can respect the direction the band was taking. While not completely abandoning their roots, but maturing both emotionally and musically.

It's a shame we won't be getting anymore Blink 182 releases, but as I said, the last couple releases have felt split musically and inconsistent. That said, over the next couple weeks I'll finish this Blink 182 retrospective with Mark and Travis's +44 album and Tom's Angels And Airwaves. +44 is a decent release, but Angels And Airwaves have been on my play lists consistently for over a year with 2 solid releases.

This is coming up next.


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