Album Review: The Descendents – “Hypercaffium Spazzinate”

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Returning after a 12-year hiatus, California punk legends the Descendents are back with Hypercaffium Spazzinate.  Their last album, 2004’s Cool to Be You focused on re-establishing the band’s footing. With time working its magic, the band now could care less about finding their footing. This time, Milo Aukerman and the gang have focused their efforts on writing songs that are relevant to the point in life that they’re currently in. You need to look no further than the first single “Victim of Me”, which features themes of aging and the realization that time is happening but everything is cool.

When you listen to the first song, Karl Alverez bass-playing is what sticks out. The bass thumps and thumps, and remains as prominent as it has been in the band’s music for over 30 years. You can really tell that no matter how many years pass, The Descendents continue to produce tighter and tighter albums. This could be caused by several things — whether it’s better equipment or just the band getting better with time. That quality is evident here.

Aging and adulthood is a huge theme here. As with Blink-182’s new album California —  where they tried to remain young at heart with throwaway tracks about pool and the ilk — Aukerman writes about giving his son medicine for his ADHD (“Limiter”), not being able to eat whatever he wants anymore (“No Fat Burger”) and just being friends outside of the band (“Beyond the Music”).  There are far more mature themes here. All of this is lovingly wrapped in the thin vocals of Milo Aukerman. He strains to get to some of the notes, but it sounds just like he did on their debut album 34 years ago.

Hypercaffium Spazzinate  brings the Descendents back in style. However, the unfortunate thing is any and all of their music is interchangeable. This is a good thing, but it always makes judging a new release difficult. I guess what can be said is that it fits quite nicely into their discography and for that, it deserves a spot on your latest punk rock playlist. With a more mature lyrical outlook coupled with that classic Descendents style, this is certain to please punk rockers old and young.

Rating: 8/10

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