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Friday, October 23, 2015

MxPx -- The AC/EP

 photo MI0003529988_zpsrbw6eic7.jpg

Bad timing. After a very long run of punk rock invincibility, MxPx suddenly became very, very mortal with their 2003 pop-rock album, Before Everything and After. As a long-time fan of the band, I tried really, really (it's double-adverb Friday) hard to like Before Everything and After--but after a few months, I realized the hate was extremely, extremely real. I did not want my favorite punk rock band to be a pop-rock band, and the cheesy unlistenability of BFEAA proves that reason doesn't want MxPx to be a pop-rock band, either.
MxPx was, until the band reached their mid-30's and started having children, a very, very prolific band, generally putting out some kind of new release every year. A year after BFEAA, the band released a documentary called B-Movie, which included a bonus CD called The AC/EP. The documentary is a slight disappointment, not because it isn't entertaining, but because the promos promise three live shows, yet the DVD actually only features a little bit of footage from five or six of the songs performed at those shows. The bonus AC/EP is...well, if there was one thing I and all the other long-term MxPx fans wanted after the disappointing Before Everything and After, it was proof that the trio could go right back to being an awesome punk rock band. The AC/EP offers absolutely zero evidence that the sentiment of the previous sentence could be a possibility because, at that exact moment in history, MxPx decided it was time to acoustic EP.
The AC/EP kicks off with "Grey Skies Turn Blue." It's a poppy little acoustic number, and Mike's voice sounds just as strangely whiny, nasally, and overproduced as on BFEAA. Same goes for "The Silver Screen," which gives the impression that all of BFEAA's guest singers are going to pop-up again, that dude from Good Charlotte and that dude from New Found Glory ready to pounce on a nice little "do do do do do do dudie do" outro. Thankfully, those guest appearances never come. Next up is a nice acoustic version of the band's classic "Invitation to Understanding," and then a nice version of fan-favorite rarity "Where Will We Go?" and then a pretty nice version of BFEAA standout, "Quit Your Life," and a listener now, at EP's end, I find myself in a comfortable place. Tempered expectations certainly make this EP a more enjoyable experience, even if it again finds MxPx playing against their strengths. The laid-back mood of the last three tracks is so disarmingly charming, it saves The AC/EP from disaster.
So in the end, The AC/EP is far from MxPx's best work, but the total product isn't a giant steaming pile of sickly triceratops feces, either. Maybe this MxPx band will hang around for a bit longer.

2004 SideOneDummy
1. Grey Skies Turn Blue 3:19
2. The Silver Screen 2:53
3. Invitation To Understanding (Acoustic) 3:19
4. Where Will We Go? (Acoustic) 1:34
5 Quit Your Life (Acoustic) 3:39

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