It's been pretty easy lately to get the impression that the boys of MxPx are getting tired of being punks, which is understandable since they're not exactly teenagers anymore. Frontman Mike Herrera has been putting effort into his new side project, Tumbledown, and we haven't heard much from the band other than a second album of covers released earlier this year. Their last full release, Secret Weapon, was one of their best, but that was some time ago now.
With the Left Coast Punk EP, there's finally something new and original (sort of) from MxPx. Unfortunately, the fact that it's new material is pretty much the only positive I can give it. A quick listen through this brief EP immediately gives the impression that the band doesn't particularly care about their music anymore. Everything rocks and pounds like any good punk album should, but at the same time it feels bland and tired. In some ways, the title of this EP is appropriate. This is punk, and just like the state of punk music in general nowadays, it's pretty lifeless. You can't fault the band for its musical ability, there's just not much passion here. The heart that was obvious in Secret Weapon seems completely absent. The only track that's at all memorable is the last one, "End." It's a typical goodbye track that might mean more than just the end of the album. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it's one of the last original MxPx tracks you hear.
The Left Coast Punk EP is decent but completely forgettable. Longtime fans of the band should check it out, and they'll probably enjoy it to an extent. But more than anything, this EP is a sign that MxPx has without question moved past their prime.
Despite a relatively dormant 2008, the long-time trio, MxPx, has been busy in 2009 with their second release of a cover project along with the Left Coast Punk EP. Launched from the band's own label, Rock City, MxPx once again gives fans a heavy dose of guitar-fueled punk rock consistent with the band's career. Unfortunately, this time around, the group's EP sounds terribly inexperienced and ten years too late as MxPx offers a bundle of fast-paced, upbeat songs, which lack originality and a solid, catchy tune. Portions of the songs "One Step Further," "Shanghaied in Shanghai," and "End" include some good moments, but are easily overshadowed by previous songs like "Role Modeling" and "Secret Weapon." Although the band's humor is lame (the cleverest MxPx gets is on the politically accurate title), solid themes do shine through in the form of "One Step Further" and "Hopeless Cause" which includes a nod to God ("You're my only hope/My only shelter from the storm"). In the end, true MxPx fans will want the ten track, physical copy, but casual punk fans should pass on the Left Coast Punk EP and look up other additions to the vast MxPx library.
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One Step Further
Desperate To Understand
Shanghaied In Shanghai
One Step Further (instrumental)
On A String (previously unreleased demo from LCP sessions)