Album: “Secret Weapon”
Label: Tooth & Nail Records
Release Date: 7-17-07
Reviewing any Mxpx record is always a difficult task for me. You see they’ve become an American staple, a band of longetivity and band I’ve been listening to since High School. Each album that releases and passes is a favorite of mine (well minus Before and Everything After which was a critical letdown) and an album that withstands the abuse my cd player inflicts upon it. This new one, “Secret Weapon” is no exception. Secret Weapon is chalk full of catchy rhthyms and trademark hooks that the band has become known for. This album is a personal favorite of mine and another attempt by the band at near musical perfection.
I bought the special edition knowing that the label probably wouldn’t send me that version, plus I was impatient and didn’t want to wait for a label copy. What you get for the $13.50 you spend on Interpunk is a 19 track cd along with a full feature DVD featuring behind the scenes footage of the band in studio as well as a making of documentary. I havent watched the DVD yet but I’m sure it’s worth the price. The three bonus tracks are produced by Mxpx and recorded in their home studio. Dont let that “band production” scare you away. The three bonus tracks are worth ever second. They include “The Hoohah Jangle” “Madcap Scheme” and “Throw Your Body in the Air”.
The album begins with the quick tempo title track. It’s a 2 minute song that also features a guest guitarist from Bad Religion doing a short solo, a nice addition I must say. The next few tracks are some of my favorite on the album which include: Shut it Down, Here’s to the Life” and “Top of the Charts”. Top of the Charts being the song that is highly sarcastic in nature and tongue planted firmly in cheek.
There is such an abundance of music on this disc that it’s difficult for me to critique each one individually. Just know this, “Secret Weapon” is without doubt, the album that will put Mxpx back on the map! An album full of memorable melodies and songs that will blow your mind. The band benefits musically from years in the business and it clearly shows on this new album. The vocals are spot on and less nasaly than previous efforts. There is almost a grit to the vocals that gives the album a harder edge, leading listeners on a journey back in time. A bit of Social Distortion is even evident on a few of the more punk numbers. Mike Herrera echoing Mike Ness is a cool thing and shows that like the afformentioned singer, Mxpx can too have a long withstanding career in music industry. A career that doesn’t suck it up to radio and a career that can withstand the changing of tides. Mxpx are true music veterans and they wear their hearts on their sleeves. This is straight and simple punk rock music. No trend hopping, no genre borrowing, just straight up punk rock! There is still a big part of me that finds solace in this style of music and could care less what the scene kids think. Mxpx are one of the last few of a dying genre, the heroes of a style slowly dating itself. Punk rock is still a viable genre but sales have waned in recent years. Bands like No Use for a Name, Social Distortion, Strung Out, Good Charlotte, Sum 41, Yellowcard, etc arent enjoying the success of early albums in their career catalogs. Still, it’s a style of music that is instantly identifiable and one that a LOT of fans still buy into. Bands like Rise Against and Against Me are proof of that. That’s enough with my classifications and study into all things punk rock, I’ll save the rest for a later article or something. Just know that Mxpx arent bowing to anyone but themselves and God. They’re doing things on their own terms and living the perfect example of what punk rock is all about: Independence.
Stand out Tracks:
Shut It Down
Top of the Charts
Bass So Low
Here’s to the Life
Replay Value: If you’re a fan of Mxpx, you’ll play this over and over until your ears bleed