Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Album Review: 'Hypercaffium Spazzinate [Deluxe Edition]' by Descendents

Title:  Hypercaffium Spazzinate [Deluxe Edition] (Kings Road Merch, Epitaph Records, Amazon, iTunes, Interpunk, Wikipedia)
Artist:  Descendents (Official, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Kings Road MerchAllMusic, Wikipedia)

The Descendents have been a band in various forms for nearly 40 years.  They have gone from misfit teenager kids in southern California playing songs about girls and food to middle-aged adults living in Colorado, Oklahoma, and Delaware playing songs about girls and food.  At least that's the story on the surface.  Yes the band members are all in their 50s and yes Hypercaffium Spazzinate is an album of buzz-saw pop songs played through the lens of early '80s punk including the obligatory silly song about food, but if that is all you are getting from this record, then you are truly missing the point.  So here's the part where I could get real pretentious and talk about how true, die-hard fans appreciate the ALL catalog as much (if not more) than the Descendents catalog (or that they see them as two parts of one whole), or I could pontificate about the fact that Stephen Egerton, Karl Alvarez, Milo Aukerman, and Bill Stevenson are incredible and complex musicians that are grossly underappreciated for their nuanced and clever take of pop music, or I could question how someone could be a fan of this band without owning copies of New Girl, Old Story and The Seven Degrees of Stephen Egerton, or I could state that it is an objective fact that Chad Price is the best vocalist the band has ever seen and anyone who disagrees is just plain wrong, but what would be the point of that?  When I first started writing this review I really wanted to go all high and mighty with my superior love of the Descendents.  Looking at the coverage of the record, I was irked that the same things were talked about and that the only song from the record to be added to the rotation of a local alternative radio station was "No Fat Burger" (a fun but silly song that is quite possibly the worst song on the record but fits into what casual fans would think of as a typical Descendents song).  Why weren't people talking about songs like "Without Love" or "Beyond the Music"?  Or what about those brilliant bonus tracks from the Spazzhazard EP?  Those extra songs add an entire extra layer to this already excellent record.  And make no mistake about it, Hypercaffium Spazzinate is an excellent record.  And how could it not be?  As previously mentioned, this band is made up of four of the greatest songwriters alive today; songwriters that deserve to be known for more than short, silly, fast songs about coffee, food, and girls.  And those that dare to look beneath that outer layer, those that pull back the shell of preconceived notions about this band and really listen to this album will find a record of incredible pop hooks with deep emotional connections that tackle serious topics like growing up (and older), parenthood, adulthood, friendship, and family, while still holding on to the energy and attitude of bring a teenage misfit.

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