Album: Watch the Years Crawl By
Label: Rock City Recording Company
Release Date: December 7, 2010
Reviewer: Eric Pettersson
- Cold Outside
- Be Still My Heart
- Tuck You In
- To Have and to Hold
- Tie Me to You
- Thought a Lot
- Out of the Blue
- You Bring Me to My Knees
- I Still Haven’t Reached You
All three members of MxPx, along with their stage tech Neil, got together in 1997 to create a softer, supposedly doo-wop inspired side-project. Forming a new label, Rock City Recording Company, the guys in Arthur released an EP titled Loneliness Is Bliss in 1999. As a side project, Arthur took a backseat to MxPx, and the full length they started recording in 2002 was not completed for another eight years. Watch the Years Crawl By is the result, a pop rock blend of sappy love songs from everyone’s favorite punk rawkers.
The guitars are still electric, but they’re clean, like 1950s rock and roll or modern soft rock radio (the song’s tempo determines which comparison fits better). Mike’s lyrics and melodies are simple, straight-forward, and sincere as ever. Unless I missed something, every song is about a girl. But unlike those classic MxPx break-up songs, these are about deep love and a marriage that is ten years strong. Mike is clearly head-over-heels for his wife, and it comes out in both fun and sentimental ways on Watch the Years Crawl By. The songs are far more polished than on Loneliness Is Bliss, and “Thought a Lot” is the only song that was rerecorded from that EP. While Arthur claims a doo-wop influence, most of the songs are basic pop rock, with doo-wop elements only appearing subtly on tracks like “Out of the Blue,” which happens to be my personal favorite on the record.
Perhaps it was a greater shock back in 1999, but after hearing MxPx’s work from the 2000s, I have to say this release doesn’t sound like a totally different band. Instead, it sounds like the one or two softer tracks that MxPx has consistently been throwing onto each album for the past decade, such as “Wrecking Hotel Rooms” from 2005’s Panic. On top of that, Mike Herrera’s voice is so distinctive that it’s hard to think of anything other than MxPx when I hear him singing. But these are no complaints. No, the latest from Arthur is even better than the latest from MxPx. Secret Weapon was a return to more focused punk energy, and the softer-side of these musicians seems to have been channeled away from that release and into this one.
Overall: Arthur returns at last with the full-length album fans have been waiting on for over a decade. Watch the Years Crawl By does not disappoint, with all the romantic comedy sappiness that Mike Herrera can muster. As a special treat, any MxPx fan will want to pick up this album as it is probably the last time they will hear Yuri’s drumming, considering his recent retirement from MxPx.