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July 12, 2024

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Problematic (Epitaph)

By: Jeb Branin

Spring is sort of lighthearted and upbeat kind of season, so somehow it seems appropriate that there always seems to be a titanic outpouring of great pop punk albums each spring... after all pop punk is "lighthearted" and "upbeat" too, right? Well... usually. Sometimes it forgoes the radio friendly pandering and just flat out rocks your feeble brain. Take for example the new CD "Problematic" from ALL. More so than probably any other ALL album this one captures the magical vibe of Stephen, Bill and Karl's alter ego THE DESCENDENTS, their legendary band that pre-dates ALL by almost a decade and is the single biggest influence on the pop punk scene of today. Without a doubt THE DESCENDENTS knew how to kick it out and R-O-C-K! Yes, the songs on "Problematic" are crammed with infectious hooks and many have lyrics dealing with classic ALL/DESCENDENT topics (like girls, women and ladies) but there are also more than a few songs jam packed with indignation and pain, both musically and lyrically. ALL tackles topics like suicidal apathy, religious bigotry, self centeredness, despair, and "three strikes" laws often couching the discussion in violently cutthroat punk rawk. I don't know how this band manages to get better and better with each passing year but they do. This one is a keeper.
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