Since the early 1990s, California-based punk combo, Offspring has been raking it in monetarily and kicking up a very pseudo-rebel racket with its stylized metal-punk revivalist sound.
It might have been one of the first revivalist punk bands to sell over 4 million albums on an independent label -- 1994's Epitaph release, Smash -- but Offspring's rebel stance soon became questionable.
Three years after its indie success the band made the fatal mistake of crooning about rebellion while signing a deal with a major label, in this case Columbia Records.
The resulting multinational-backed musical anarchy saw 1997's
Ixnay on the Hombre receive rave reviews but fail to secure a first-rate chart position. Follow up albums, Americana and Conspiracy of One fared much better, but by then the band had become little but a crossover punk/pop act with the same faux-punk rock credibility as Blink 182.
Splinter, the Offspring's seventh full-length release, offers more of the same, over-played and stereotypical hooks and riffs that have come to symbolize rebel rock since grundge-chic replaced punk-panache in the late 1980s.
Tunes such as Never Gonna Find Me, Long Way Home and Lightning Rod churn with the all-too predictable buzzsaw guitar. Even more embarrassingly, for erstwhile rockers, are the album's less boisterous moments, with tunes like The Worst Hangover Ever and Spare Me the Details see the band careening on a head-on collision with ska/pop act, Sugar Ray.
Splinter is a dud devoid of any form of originality. Neither clever enough nor crass enough to be a genuine punk record, Splinter is little more than an anthem to today's fashion-conscious frat-boy punk-rocker types. Arrgh!
Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell
The Flaming Lips returned to the fold last month with Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell -- an EP packed with all the
symphonic majesty and grace that Lip's fans have come to expect from the now heroin-free Wayne Coyne, Steven Drozd and Michael Ivins.
Featuring four new tracks and three remixes of tunes from the band's 2002 release, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, the Lips' sublime fusion sound and emotional directness has never been so good.
Whereas the Lips of yesteryear took listeners on a hurdy-gurdy, drug-crazed ride on which they were forced to face their most deeply repressed nightmares, the Lips of today take the listener on a musical journey through a mystical and magical symphonic world where happiness is the order of the day.
While reminiscent of material from the band's breakthrough 1999 release, The Soft Bulletin, the EP's new tunes are much brighter, far more complete and, produced by Lips' longtime studio guru Dave Fridmann. As a result it is more reliant on digital influences and electronica than previous outings.
Sunship Balloons, Assassination of the Sun, A Change at Christmas and I'm a Fly in a Sunbeam are all sonic cinematic soundscapes and melancholy acid-soaked opuses filled with an assortment of highly positive vibes and emotions.
The EP's remixes don't come off badly either, with Do You Realize? receiving a mild trip-hop remix treatment from DNTEL's Jimmy Tamborello and Ego Tripping getting some fantastic mild acid jazz Fila Brazillia-styled ambiance added to it by Jason Bentley, as well as a more drum 'n' bass inspired reworking by Blow Up.