Let's Rock

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Let's Rock is technically made up of new MxPx songs, the catch being that the tracks have all mostly been lying around the band's practice space for the past few years. Dating back to sessions from 2000, the songs are all castoffs from other albums that the guys felt finally deserved a second chance to see the light of day. So they gathered some together, finished them up, and along with three acoustic versions to top it all off -- tada! -- a new full-length appears. The results, however, are pretty mixed and it raises the question of whether these songs should have just been left alone altogether. The album sounds more Before Everything & After-era than Panic (though "Make Up Your Mind" sounds like it came directly off The Ever Passing Moment), and consequently, it's a pretty lukewarm pop-punk affair, largely lacking the arresting hooks and exuberance of MxPx's past. Though thankfully, they at least take it easy with adding synths this time around. Let's Rock is thus a pretty deceiving title, since the band spends more time soul-searching with midtempo numbers and quasi-ballads -- please someone get them some Red Bulls already -- with no fist-in-the-air rock-outs really to be found. And unfortunately for MxPx, they've always been much better at the latter than the former set. "Where Did You Go?" and "Don't Forget Me (When You're Gone)" are borderline irritating with Mike Herrera nasally whimpering along, the latter's repetition of "My heart still hurts" enough to make you want to smack him out of it after a bit. But there are a few standouts, like the rollicking "1 and 3," "Every Light," or even the cutesy acoustic number "Sweet Sweet Thing" -- though it's admittedly hard to see Herrera offending any girlfriend's family as much as he apparently does in the song. Let's Rock is not terrible by any means; it's just that MxPx seems to be simply going through the motions so much that after one spin, you'll want to throw Life in General back on instead.

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