MxPx

Secret Weapon

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    8
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Secret Weapon is a return to form for MxPx in more ways than just continuing the back-to-basics approach of 2005's Panic. The Bremerton pop-punks have returned to their original label home, Tooth & Nail (the prior falling out between the two now water under the bridge), and they're working with original producer Aaron Sprinkle, who was at the controls for their debut. Whether or not these factors really had anything to do with the band sounding as revitalized as it does is up for debate, but regardless, as soon as the lead title track leaps from speakers amid fierce, machine-gun drumming, it's clear MxPx mean business. Secret Weapon is restless, spirited, and truly infectious from the raucous woahs and bouncy bassline driving "Shut It Down" to the bristling energy and spitfire vocals of "Chop Shop" to the uplifting, grab-your-friends chorus of "Here's to the Life." Unsurprising topics like scene celebrity, encounters of the major-label kind, and sentiments of living life to the fullest are addressed via crashing, melodic choruses, yet MxPx sound surprisingly unjaded considering the decade-plus they've been around. But really making it all worthwhile is that these 16 hyper-charged tracks actually sound inspired -- with more grit than gloss this time around -- and well, MxPx finally sound like they're having fun again. The 2006 release Let's Rock found them merely going through the motions, but Secret Weapon finds the trio back on track like fans remember from years ago. Welcome back guys.

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