New MxPx has arrived! The self-titled production is the 13th studio album from the 25-year vets, and while it gives fans a much-desired fix, it explores themes that indicate a level of maturity we have yet to see from the iconic trio.
The album seeks to reconcile nostalgic indulgence with a mindset of forward-motion and embracing what’s next. Songs like “Rolling Strong” and “Let’s Ride” extol the value of forward thinking—of eagerly greeting, and not fearing, the future. The band intently anchors these sentiments to delightful thoughts of the past, treasured career anecdotes, and recollections of humble, simpler times (“Uptown Streets”, “The Way We Do”).
Musically speaking, the album pretty much sticks to the traditional MxPx strain of riff-work and tempo. It does still have the “new era” sound that they’ve espoused since 2003’s Before Everything & After, wherefrom there was a marked shift in production quality, and they got away from the punkier, garage breed of rock whose acoustics were charmingly short-falling. But despite a more “evolved” timbre, it clings to enough early-sound residue to retain the approval of their pre-millennium fanbase—“Rolling Strong”, “All Of It”, and “20-20 Hindsight” being great examples.
Overall, this is the record of a punk band that’s all grown up. The energy and speed is still there, but the size and scope of the subject matter has undergone an existential expansion. MxPx has broadened the introspect beyond the realm of petty heartbreaks and innocuous pick-me-up anthems, and assumed a macro-reflective role that looks at the big-picture significance of an entire life lived.