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September 20, 2017


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MxPx
Slowly Going The Way Of The Buffalo (A&M Records)

By: Alex Steininger

Hot off a radio-hit ("Chick Magnet"), MxPx once again proves that their infectious pop-punk is no fluke. With all three members at the ripe age of twenty one, if this album is any indication, they'll be around for quite some time. Hailing from the state of Washington, they fuse the craziness of growing up with punk beats and an underlined theme of sing-a-long, catchy pop hooks. One taste of their album is all you need, because after that, you'll be hooked.

With punk energy from the beginning, "Under Lock And Key" sets the listener up for a splendid forty minutes of bouncy, catchy, punk that sticks in your head and gets you humming and singing along for the rest of the day. Hard hitting drums keep the intensity alive, while the bass thickens everything up with some meaty riffs. The guitar hums through song, churning out distorted power chords that keep the song in tact. Also whipping in some hooks here and there, they expand on the rhythm section and make the pop influences stick with the listener. The vocals are also a very important thing to the music, since they create a lot of the melody. They also move in time with the pop hooks the guitar is creating, helping to pull them off. "I'm Ok, You're OK," the band's first single off this album, continues with their explosive pop-punk. With a highly infectious chorus leading the song, the verses help to build you up to the point where you're getting into it, and then they slip that big pop hook your way, and right then you're ears clearly focus in on the song. "Cold An All Alone" follows, serving up one of the best tracks on this disc. Guitar fuzz over the pounding of the drums and the thick notes of the bass, the vocals are the main focus of the intro, spilling their hearts out. After thirteen seconds, the song soon jumps into hyper speed, concentrating more on the hyperactive punk side of the band, with the pop taking a back seat. After a minute, though, they do slow down the pace and bring a lot more sweet pop into the picture. But don't worry, the song doesn't slow down that much. Just enough to be able to casually slip a bit more pop into the mix. "Party, My House, Be There" keeps the 'party' going. Kicking it off with eighteen seconds of just vocals and guitar, it instantly hooks you. I'm a big fan of a good guitar that climbs your nerves, making you jumpy while you wonder what's going to happen next, mixed with some soothing vocals. That's exactly what they do. A song about a guy, a girl, and love, they make it easily work as they mix in teen feelings, words straight from the heart, and a bouncy rhythm. Exiting the pop-punk realm for a bit, on "Fist vs Tact" they dabble in some hardcore punk. A fast-paced, head pounding, intense minute and eleven seconds, this number grabs your attention, if only for the sheer power behind it. It's nice to see the band take a break from the pop-punk melodies, giving the listener a bit of time to slam around with the song, rather than bouncing and jumping. "Inches From Life" blends both worlds of MxPx, the hardcore punk and the pop-punk. Playing heavy, but slow, the intro instantly lets the listener know this is going to be a bit different than some of the other tracks on the disc. From there they blast into more hardcore punk, playing each instrument like there is a race between the three of them, but then they slide in a juicy pop hook and grab the listener. All is back to normal. Mixing it up once again, they jump back into the hardcore, before sliding back into the pop. A nice contradiction in the same song. Closing out with "The Theme Fiasco," they finish very disappointingly. Instrumental hardcore mixed with slight signs of pop, and a lot of heavy metal traits, they should have stopped after track fifteen.

Never being an MxPx fan in the past, this disc really won over my support. Juicy, energetic, and most of all, fun. They know how to blend their pop and punk just perfectly, as to maximize the enjoyment for both themselves and the listener. I'll give this disc an A.

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