Reviewed by Jeremy Williams
Now just into their 30s, you might expect MxPx to be turning it down a little, perhaps reviewing their back catalogue and considering a greatest hits tour, or releasing live acoustic shows. Instead, they've returned to Tooth & Nail Records after an 11 year absence, teamed up with the producer responsible for their debut album, and made 'Secret Weapon'. It's 16 tracks of what they do best, quickfire punk anthems with lyrical bite and a social conscience. Returning to a faster, old-school pop-punk style, 'Secret Weapon' kicks off with the eponymous single, and proceeds with songs about love, hate, murder and shallow digital friendships in this Facebook age. "Top Of The Charts" and "Punk Rawk Celebrity" show a tongue-in-cheek approach to their own status too, declaring "punk rock celebrity is an oxymoron". My personal favourite would be "Now That You're On Fire", which goes "let life begin again, now that you're on fire", which makes me wonder what Pentecost might have looked like if it had happened at a California skate park instead of first century Palestine. Like any album in this genre, there are only so many three minute, three chord shoutalongs you can hear before they all start sounding the same, and with a generous 16 tracks here that's about six more than you need. And that's before you get to the three bonus tracks. Still, this is a great return to form and fans will love the rediscovery of the punk ethic as MxPx get back to their roots. The DVD included in the package has a 20 minutes behind the scenes studio documentary, and erm, footage of the band buying groceries.
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