The last two years have been a time of transition for Poway pop punk heavyweights Blink-182. Following the departure of original guitarist Tom Delonge, fellow founding member Mark Hoppus and long-time drummer Travis Barker recruited renowned musician Matt Skiba to join them on tour before he became a permanent replacement at the end of 2015. Since then, the trio have been busy writing and recording new material for their long-awaited upcoming compilation, California.
This week saw the release of the video for its lively lead single, “Bored to Death”, which is sure to heighten the hype in the run up to the record’s arrival on July 1st. A riff that recalls some of the act’s earliest outings introduces the track ahead of its dire but endearing opening verse. It’s not long until the instrumentation increases in intensity, enthralling underneath a riveting refrain on the way to the next stirring stanza.
The pace remains pressing from here as the whole thing sails smoothly in the direction of a brisk breakdown in the third minute. This is succeeded by a commanding climactic chorus before a slick symphonic epilogue swoops in to serve as a sobering stopping point.
“Bored to Death” is an extremely sophisticated effort by Blink whose sound is more than a little reminiscent of Plus 44, which is by no means meant as a denunciation. It may not incite nostalgia in those fans who have fond memories of lighthearted hits such as “All the Small Things” and “The Rock Show”, but it is arguably the best thing the band have produced since their untitled album dropped in 2003. If the rest of California is half as effective as this, then it should receive a warm welcome.