Reviewed by Ewan Jones
MxPx's latest is pure punk rawk brilliance from start to finish. Over its 17 tracks we're treated to the classic MxPx sound - tight, fast, fun, unashamedly cheesy 'na na na' singalongs, and completely memorable. MxPx's albums could never have been described as rocket science, and the band could be accused of the odd lazy release (skip last year's 'Let's Rock' for example), but after just one listen to 'Secret Weapon', all is forgiven and it's impossible to get the hooks out of your head. This is the first album I've heard for a while that has demanded immediate repeat listening. Alongside 2005's 'Panic', 'Secret Weapon' stands as a testament to the resurrection of a band who, five years ago, seemed in danger of losing their way after signing to the majors. It seems that MxPx have a renewed energy; Mike, Tom and Yuri are on top of their game - the songs on 'Secret Weapon' are brimming with chunky power chords, the speed of their early work and even - shock - the odd guitar solo. Highlights are "Bass So Low" (complete with bass solo and metal riffing) and the title track. "Contention" is as aggressive as anything they have ever produced, while "Here's To The Life" and "Drowning" are stand out singalong tracks. Producer Aaron Sprinkle (Fair, Poor Old Lu) is the man behind many recent, excellent punk and emo releases, and he has added his touch to proceedings as well as contributing some backing vocals. Released on Tooth & Nail, this really feels like a "back to the roots" record, in aspects of their sound and their faith. Their lyrics are a lot less explicitly Christian than on earlier albums and that has led to unnecessary criticism, but there is no denying that many of their songs are inspired by their beliefs and their need for "the master of the never ending promises" ("Bass So Low"). A triumph - now all I need is to hear these tracks played real loud at the punk rawk show. . .
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