Blink-182's protracted adolescence has finally ended. There is nary a goofy moment on the San Diego punk-pop band's fifth album, which is more experimental and harder-hitting than anything else it has done. On "I Miss You," the trio toys with electronic drumbeats, acoustic guitars, string parts and a gentle piano melody. "Violence" opens with a shriek of buzz-saw guitar, switches to the group's revved-up punk throttle and then calms down for verses that are spoken rather than sung: "You speak and make time stand still," says guitarist Tom DeLonge, "And each time, you walk on by." Blink-182 don't skimp on catchy hooks — on "Feeling This," "Asthenia" and "Go" — and their lyrics are still unsophisticated and lovelorn, but even the poppiest tunes prove artful. Maturity suits these guys: Five albums into their career, it sounds like they're just getting warmed up.
- Universal Distribution
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