EIGHT years since the last record. Wow. A great deal of scepticism meets any band who wait this long to release a new record, especially when the quality of their previous work is at such a high standard, and holds such a significance and meaning to an audience who see Blink-182's music as a soundtrack to a large part of their lives - teenage years? Yeah thought so. Opening track Ghost On The Dance Floor fades in with an incredibly technical, fast Travis drum fill, and carries the songs energy with absurdly quick hi-hat rhythms. The song is a clear reference to Travis’ close friend Adam Goldstein AKA DJ AM who died of a drug overdose in 2009 a year after he and Travis survived the plane crash that killed 4 other passengers (the main reason Blink-182 won’t tour Australia). The lyrics “I saw your ghost tonight, the moment felt so real, if your eyes stay right on mine, my wounds would start to heal … I’ll never leave this dance floor, I’ll never leave you here” are a powerful testament to friends they’ve lost. With the band in their mid-30s, it seems they haven’t lost sight of their origins and are still writing powerful lyrics on love, life, loss, and mayhem, putting them together with great harmonies and choruses. It is interesting to note that Tom’s voice dominates this record, with Mark singing back up on all but 4 tracks, standing out on the fast, powerful punk infused Heart’s All Gone, which is right up there with The Party Song for its speed and complexity. The punk influence is still rife on aforementioned Heart’s All Gone, Natives, Ghost On The Dance Floor and Hearts All Wrong.
Travis’ drumming is outstanding on this record; perhaps expecting a more R&B influenced approach evident on his solo album and side projects, laying down beats for everyone from Lil Wayne, Drake, Steve Aoki and Rihanna; Travis holds onto his hard playing style, and unique rhythms, noticeably inserting more percussion (some electric) and complex drum fills, standing out on the tracks Snake Charmer, Ghost On The Dance Floor, Kaleidoscope and Love is Dangerous. Travis exerts a huge energy on each of the tracks, bringing out the early punk influences which were evident on their early albums, with impossible speed and energy which were more consistently evident on live recordings found on The Mark, Tom and Travis Show; such as tracks Heart’s All Gone, Natives and Up All Night. Check out the energy and aggressive but flawless playing style in the new live clip for Heart's All Gone:
The beauty of this album is it’s not radically different; we don’t hear all of the band member’s side projects influences exerted and elbowing for space on the record. There’s no ego clash, there’s no fight for attention. Mark, Tom and Travis are completely in sync, contributing their own style and creativity on this record and it works so well! Tempted to pick a timeframe to pinpoint where there sound is coming from, it’d be unfair to do so, for its as if they’ve captured a more mature Blink sound, which comes from each musician going their separate ways with side projects, experiencing life outside the band and going through external experiences and tragedy. At the same time the album manages to capture the sounds of all their previous records, with influences ripe throughout the record, but at the same time you can’t take away from the originality. The album is an great listen in full, the tracks just mesh together perfectly with the right amount of hard hitting energetic punk infused rock and softer melodic tracks. I thought I'd post the track MH 4.18.2011 for a variety of reasons, firstly it showcases Mark Hoppus voice nicely, it has a fantastic melody, probably my favourite (and most catchy) melody on the album, and its the first song that actually (or blatantly) deals with heavy issues such as war and violence "Line them up on the wall coming out with their hands up give them all their share Let it burn, let it fall, let the end of the world come. Whos left to care?" Mature Blink!
Their live show hasn’t suffered, if anything its grown! Translated into a live setting, the energy exerted from these songs are fucking incredible, check out the live vid for Ghost On The Dancefloor below, take note of Travis’ intro (makes me drool) ! ! !
Rating: 9.5/10 ! (Its that good)