Review by Paul Monkhouse for MPM
A crazy world has just got a little crazier as California’s (arguably) greatest punk band make a roaring comeback with this, their tenth album.
Let the Bad Times Roll’ is full of the unbridled fire and unhinged lunacy they’ve become so well known for and in a sea of mediocrity and faux edgy hardcore bands they stand as a shining light on how to do it properly.
The gritty and boisterous ‘This is Not Utopia’ kicks things off with a power that carries through the album, Dexter Holland’s vocals just as urgent as they were when the band formed almost four decades ago, Noodles guitar firmly thrashed within inches of its life.
The titular ‘Let the Bad Times Roll’ adds an irresistible sugar rush, the aggression toned down with a sunny melodic feel, ‘Behind Your Walls’ rocks but in a more contemplative way and ‘Army of One’ has a feelgood rockabilly vibe.
This eclecticism has always shaped previous output of the band, unafraid to draw in influences from a myriad of sources whilst always remaining faithful to their core sound, anchored by Holland’s distinctive vocals.
When the material also includes the frantic ‘Breaking These Bones’, the glamtastic ‘Coming For You’ and the certifiably wacky ‘We Never Have Sex Anymore’ along with an amphetamine fuelled version of Edvard Grieg’s ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’ you just have to wonder if the band were rifling through the whole of the family’s record collection before going into the studio.
Closing on the gorgeous ballad ‘Gone Away’, with its hints of Gary Jules elegiac take of Tears For Fears classic ‘Mad World’, there genuinely is something for everyone here.
Whilst they’re not quite ready to settle down with pipe and slippers yet, ‘Let the Bad Times Roll’ shows that amongst the lashings of fury and mirth, there continues to be an ever maturing heart and song writing at the centre of all they do, all heightened by Bob Rock’s immaculate production.
An album that has something to say and does it with great aplomb, this outing by the Garden Grove madmen is probably their finest and most colourfully imaginative yet and as such is well worth a succinct thirty three minutes of anyone’s time. The party album of the year.
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