ALBUM REVIEW: The Offspring – ‘Let The Bad Times Roll’

Words: Tracey Moyle – {Music Maven}

The Offspring are BACK, and fans are going to be stoked. It’s been almost a decade since the SoCal punk legends released an album but this doesn’t mean the guys have been idle. In recent years, their brainy frontman Dexter Holland finished his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology, the band have continued to tour, their last trip to Australia in 2018 had them playing their iconic Smash album in full, and they parted ways with their bassist Greg K.  It’s evident now, with this release, they have also been writing wicked new tunes.

Their tenth studio album, ‘Let The Bad Times Roll’, is like running through a greatest hits record, except all the tracks are brand new. Well, almost all. The band have pulled from their very core and come up with twelve tracks that run like a tribute to their nearly four decade-long career. Fans of any era of The Offspring’s lifespan will get something from this new album that rings like an ode to a lifetime’s work.

The opening track This Is Not Utopia is quintessential Offspring and with it, you’ll be left breathing a sigh of relief. After almost ten years between albums, it could have gone in several different directions for the band, but any fears of mediocrity are diminished with a burst of familiar energy as Holland points out the lack of compassion that modern America has for its people and the planet. “You don’t matter anymore” hits it home in the lyrics. The album is off to a good start.  

Let The Bad Times Roll is the first single release from the album and is again shouting out about the social and political challenges the country is facing. It’s an upbeat rock track with catchy hooks that comes together with big riffs, the tempo falling in around the ‘Days Go By’ album vibe and it makes a good first single release for commercial radio. Next up, Behind Your Walls is a solid rock track, with drums, at a point, hitting a familiar sequence, (you’ll know it when you hear it) the track is something new but still is unmistakably Offspring. Its strong track with an anthemic ring that will definitely become a fan favourite.

Next track, Army of One, would sit well on ‘Americana’ or ‘Conspiracy of One’. It has the pace that made vintage Offspring iconic. Vocally, Holland has a way of getting under your skin in a good way. The track has a brilliantly quintessential feel and will appeal to everyone.

The pace keeps building with Breaking Those Bones and the band are in full swing. This track has everything punk fans love about this band. There is no doubt this one will have the crowds running circles at live shows once social distancing is a thing of the past. Coming For You is next and Holland’s vocals carry this song with the frontman’s passion ringing out in the chorus. This track has an addictive pace that makes you want to memorise the lyrics so you can belt it out.

They get jazzy with We Never Have Sex Anymore. A funky track with a big brass accompaniment throughout. More jazzy than ska, you can picture the band in an old time dance hall playing to a dancing crowd. This one is a bit of fun. It’s also the latest track released from the album.

In The Hell Of The Mountain is the interlude that typically starts off an Offspring album, this time being set half way through. The song builds itself up, churning into a frenzy, getting the listener ready for part two.

The Opioid Diaries will have your feeling like you’ve just found a hidden track on that old ‘Ixnay on the Ombre’ or ‘Smash’ CD.  It has the pace that set this band apart from everyone else, holding that perfect balance between punk and rock. Injecting their own secret ingredient that has fans constantly coming back for more. There are no songs you’d want to skip through so far on the album. Hassan Chop keeps you in that time warp with their hardcore influence erupting. More circle pit frenzy to come with this one in a live set. They even seem to deliberately take the pace back a bit, adding a breather in the middle before belting it out to the end.

The perfection in Dexter performing a solemn piano solo in their reimagined version of Gone Away Reprise is pure gold. Fans who have seen the band in recent years will likely have seen this live. A piano wheeled out on stage with Holland taking the crowd by the feels and running with it. Strings are added to the track to give a completely new life to this song about death. For a track that the band would have sung more than they can probably recall, the depth of the lyrics are still felt through Hollands delivery.

Lullaby is like an ethereal excerpt and at a shorter time of 1.12 seconds comes in to close the album, leaving you processing what you just heard, just before you hit that play button and happily do it all again.

‘Let The Bad Times Roll’ was well worth the wait with the band digging deep and showing their true essence in their latest album. It’s exactly what the fans need right now. No matter what your favourite album from The Offspring is, you will find tracks in here that feel like home.  

‘Let The Bad Times Roll’ is out now. Listen/stream HERE.

Credit- Daveed Benito

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With thanks to Dallas Does PR

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