Never Change (Descendents, Hypercaffium Spazzinate review)
If I were ever to write a personal ad for music, it might look something like this.
Man seeking a band, must have a sense of humour, honesty, authenticity, and ferocity. Experience with bullshit, but zero tolerance for it preferred. Please apply within.
I hope there are some souls out there that can answer the call.
Descendents – Hypercaffium Spazzinate
released July 29, 2016
The Descendents are an American punk rock band which formed in 1977. It wasn’t until 1980, however, that they really became punks and a major player in the LA scene. This was when Stevenson brought on his school friend Milo Aukerman as the lead singer. The Descendents have released a total of seven studio albums now over their 24 year plus career, and the current lineup includes singer Milo Aukerman, guitarist Stephen Egerton, bassist Karl Alvarez, and drummer Bill Stevenson.
A lot of people will tell you that Milo Goes To College (from 1982) is their best, but I will whole-heartedly disagree. Their last album, Cool To Be You, was released in 2004 and holds up amazingly well, with all of the energy and unique perspective that the group always brings to the table.
This energy is what has influenced a plethora of pop punk and skate punk bands and especially some of my personal favourites – Blink 182, NOFX, Fall Out Boy, Green Day, The All-American Rejects, and The Offspring.
But let’s talk about Hypercaffium Spazzinate. It’s what you’re here for after all.
These gents play the kind of punk rock that transcends the typical limitations of the genre because while they do enjoy some of the simple chords and hooks, the content is always quite intelligent and relevant to where they are in the current lives. That and those chords evolve over each song, taking tracks into some more epic. For instance, Limiter is one of my favourite tracks and a song about Aukerman’s son, who is taking medication and which Aukerman believes is limiting his potential for success in life. It starts simply enough, but watch the melody progress along, it’ll take you by surprise.
They continue to mix a perfect blend of irritation about certain elements of life with a quality of sound that hasn’t been lost due to age. They even address this legacy with self-referential tracks like No Fat Burger and Beyond The Music. Asking you to reflect with them and also laugh at how their problems may have changed, but they still complain in the same ways.
Of course there are catchier tracks like On Paper, which is a great joke about those of us with well organized portfolios, resumes, and internet dating profiles, but without presence of purpose in person. And of course Testosterone is a modern replacement of the previous efforts to counterattack against the mainstream cool, this time focusing on those who will trample all for career bullion.
And when you listen to Smile, you can’t help but do so yourself. Because these guys are punk rock nerds, and are making exactly the kind of music that we need goofy, clever, and full of heart. This band continues to hit the same notes, but they never seem limited by their sound, it’s an ever-present blend of satire and whimsy.
The Descendents are the kind of musicians you could take home to your mom, but which you could also bring out to party with. They continue to make music at their own pace, and no matter what the call is, they answer it with silly and salty punk rock. Hopefully they keep that shameless halo on their list of special skills.