In 2004, MxPx (Magnified Plaid) released a small, 5-song EP that featured acoustic renditions of older songs, as well as a few new cuts. The AC EP showed the slower side of a band many had come to know for their upbeat pop/punk tunes.
The small album opens with "Grey Skies Turn Blue." The actual version of this song can be found on MxPx's Panic CD which released after this, but that version seems altogether lacking after hearing this acoustic version. On here, the song sounds more introspective and heartfelt, perhaps something that is hard to convey with the band's usual sound. The song does not lose its upbeat feeling here, but it's slightly more relaxed.
Up next is a brand new original, "Silver Screen." This is the kind of song that would be interesting to see how it would have been done if it was handled with an electric guitar, but that is not to say this is a bad track. It has everything one could ask for in an MxPx song: witty lyrics, Mike's genuine vocal stylings, and a heavy emphasis on relationships. With lyrics like "What have I done as I'm holding the gun? / I've murdered this love now I'm on the run," you can't help but chuckle at the band's clever metaphor.
"Invitation to Understanding" follows next, originally a cut off of their Slowly Going the Way of the Buffalo record. Even though that version was a very successful single, its tempo seemed to take away from the song. For most of the version as it is found here, a single acoustic guitar carries the tune, and does a better job perhaps than when the song was recorded earlier. The song has so much more meaning when it is handled this way. Listening to this version makes you wonder what would happen if MxPx did this for more of their songs.
Just a minute and a half in length, "Where Will We Go" quickly precedes the album's closer, "Quit Your Life." "Where Will We Go" is a new song not previously released, but it serves as a perfect transition from "Invitation to Understanding" to "Quit Your Life." "Quit Your Life" is a stripped down version of the original found on Before Everything and After. Though the original was stripped down already, this new version takes it even further, making it all the more personal. It would be easy to throw out the original version, because this one outclasses it in every way.
Though short, this album is a great example of how songs can change meaning and have a bigger impression simply by stripping them down. Many bands put out acoustic recordings, but perhaps not all of them have gone so far away from the originals as MxPx has gone here. MxPx has been around for awhile, but this short CD might be one of their best releases yet.
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