After several years of upheaval and reorganisation, industry icons Blink-182 have finally returned to unleash their highly-anticipated seventh studio album, California. Recorded across a three month period at the start of 2016, it flaunts a fantastically refreshing sound that shows the band are recharged and ready to excite audiences in the wake of Tom DeLonge’s departure.
“Cynical” serves as a loud and lively opener that exudes oodles of enthusiasm ahead of the more mature but no less enlivening lead single, “Bored to Death”. This affecting effort absorbs with its sophisticated stanzas and remarkably rousing choruses, packing a powerful punch before passing the torch to the riveting riffs of “She’s out of Her Mind”. Newcomer Matt Skiba impresses by exhibiting slick singing skills during an energetic duet with original member Mark Hoppus, making for a memorable pop punk piece that proves the latest addition to the line-up was well chosen.
There’s an otherworldly trait to the ominous instrumentation that introduces “Los Angeles”, the music and melody of which enthral through to an extremely exhilarating chorus. “Sober” stays sonorous next, exploding to life via a barrage of bracing riffs and catchy crooning. A quick and quirky interlude entitled “Built This Pool” bridges the gap from here to the attitude-infused “No Future”. Showcasing a combination of canorous choruses, invigorating guitars and pounding percussion, it maintains a merry mood until “Home Is Such a Lovely Place” drifts in to enchant through emotional music and soft singing.
“Kings of the Weekend” and “Teenage Satellites” are both forceful affairs full of feeling and fervour, while “Left Alone” arrests with robust refrains atop sobering instrumentation. “Rabbit Hole” races in afterwards to differentiate itself by adopting a demeanour that’s more in line with the ensemble’s earlier offerings. “San Diego” heads back in a mellower direction when it’s done, hitting hard with its intense riffs and heartfelt harmonies on the way to the brief but biting “The Only Thing that Matters”. The title track tones things down then to deliver a dignified denouement before the curtain is closed by a terse but cheeky epilogue named “Brohemian Rhapsody”.
While many may argue as to whether it’s better or worse than their first four albums, California far surpasses anything that Blink have put out since 2001’s Take Off Your Pants and Jacket. Combining boisterous riffs with vivacious vocals and dexterous drumming, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable assortment of anthems that’s unlikely to leave fans disappointed. Check it out on iTunes now.