Album Review: The Offspring - Days Go By

28 June 2012 | 2:37 pm | Brendan Hitchens

For a ninth full-length release, it’s unconvincing...

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The first half of The Offspring's Days Go By is as good as any recent release from their '90s punk alumni: Pennywise, NOFX, Green Day, Bad Religion et al. It's a throwback to Ignition (1992) and Smash (1994) without surrendering to nostalgia. Contemporising their sound, along the way they add crunching melodic guitars and a previously ignored social conscience, delivered with a newfound sense of urgency.

Six tracks in, however, it takes a turn for the worse. Crusin' California references 2Pac's California Love and Katy Perry's California Girls in more than just title. Exploiting Auto-Tuned vocals and callow lyricism, it's satirically kitsch. Forty-six year old vocalist Dexter Holland off-puttingly sings about “g-strings” and “bumpin' trunks” and like Pretty Fly For A White Guy 14 years prior, it slides into novelty rank and rarely overcomes it. OC Guns is shamelessly '90s and similarly polarising. Borrowing the offbeat guitar rhythms of the third wave ska craze with nu-metal-like turntable scratching, Holland sings a verse in Spanish, matched by a suitably Mariachi horn section. The song, indicative of much of the band's later career, is out of place and whimsically deviates from the serious to the dismissive in a number of minutes. The track Days Go By suspiciously sounds like Foo Fighters' Times Like These. Borrowing the opening riff and lyrical themes, it's an audacious inclusion. So too Dirty Magic, a re-recording of a track penned 20 years ago.

Days Go By, recorded around touring commitments, sounds as staggered and sporadic as the time taken to record it. For a ninth full-length release, it's unconvincing, with a closing 20 minutes disconnecting any prior momentum. What could have been a career defining statement instead succumbs to style over substance.