Blink 182 – California
Chris Lord reviews the seventh album from Blink 182, California
Following a much-hyped reunion in 2009, pop-punk heavyweights Blink-182 – now sans Tom DeLonge – return with album number seven. Considering how DeLonge jumped ship after 2011’s underwhelming Neighborhoods, you have to question the man’s motives for reconnecting with Hoppus and Barker in the first place. But after two minutes of manic opener ‘Cynical’, it is already abundantly clear that the goofy three-piece many grew up with are back in business. The songs bristle with energy and a charm that had been lacking all too long. ‘Bored to Death’ and ‘She’s Out of Her Mind’ are delightfully familiar, yet both manage to instil an element of freshness; likely due to the dynamic offered by new man Matt Skiba (Alkaline Trio), who is by no means a meek replacement – he roars throughout this record as if he’s been in the band for years. ‘Los Angeles’ may go down as one of the band’s best ever works, as it masterfully captures both shades of blink-182: the moodier junctures of the 00s, along with the reckless abandon of the 90s. Yes, it’s middle-aged men singing about skinny-dipping and masturbation, but you have to say, songs about council tax and heartburn probably wouldn’t go down as well with their fan base. While California often tiptoes along the precipice of former glories, it is the many anthemic surges, and a genuine sense of urgency, which steer this sixteen-track effort towards the heights reached by Enema of the State. Fans will only wish that DeLonge had buggered off sooner.