Leah Hamer || July 7th
Summer. Skating. Sex. Spikey hair. Blink-182 have spent over two decades living off these words, creating those adolescent, bonehead personas that have been adored by their fans throughout the years.
Well into their forties now, the titans of dick jokes have not gained any sensibility or good behaviour with their age. Instead their latest album, California, is more of the same raucous, outlandish rock-pop and savage innuendos that spurred on the Gameboy and WWF generation.
Cynical pounds you in straight away with a right hook, blasting you with the class vocals of Mark Hoppus, acting as a tattooed middle finger to Tom DeLonge, who left the band in 2015. The loss of DeLonge’s characteristic voice is made up well and truly by the edition of new member Matt Skiba, of Alkaline Trio who shines on their first single, Bored To Death- a catchy, traditionally nostalgic anthem, capturing the rush of spunky energy that their fans possess in chant-worthy lyrics like life is too short to last long.
Stories of undressing girls and Friday nights are the preoccupation of the lyrics, with tracks like Kings Of The Weekend and Teenage Satellites which were designed to be played at underage parties during a game of beer pong. Sometimes, however, this Spring Break spirit becomes worn out, especially with title track California, which is unusually corny and PG- Hey heres to you California/Living in the perfect weather/Spending time inside together.
The album hopscotches from noughties, American pop-punk whoas and ohs, na na nas and ahhs on tracks like She’s Out Of Her Mind and Sober to darker, gothic, emo-power bangers like Los Angeles and San Diego where Skiba’s influence becomes apparent. At times the emotion of previous hits like I Miss You floats to the surface, with Home Is Such A Lonely Place- a quiet, acoustic track that leaves in the sound of fingers sliding up the guitar to take you away from the noise of synths and the inhuman drumming of Travis Barker.
Then flying in a different ball park are those sporadic chuckles throughout, Built This Pool is seventeen seconds long and simply states, I wanna see some naked dudes, that’s why I built this pool/Is that really it? Then the final track Brohemian Rhapsody is a thirty second ode to fingering a girl which ends the LP with a smirk- the only way a Blink 182 album should end.
With sixteen tracks, California is a variety box of different styles and genres representing the abundance of inspiration that each member has accumulated in the past twenty-four years. Yet together they make for a breathless, bouncing, head-pounding album that reminds us all that age is merely a number.
Blink 182 will never grow up, or grow old.