Descendents - Hypercaffium Spazzinate - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Descendents - Hypercaffium Spazzinate

by James Weiskittel Rating:7 Release Date:2016-08-01

The Descendents are, if nothing else, legends.  And in many ways, the California-based pop-punk pioneers own achievements are far outweighed (at least in terms of record sales) by the influence their sound has had on others.  An entire generation of fans (who probably recognize the band’s logo and backpack patches more than their actual songs) are blissfully unaware of direct and linear progression from the Descendents seminal mid-80’s releases to the genre’s massive chart success today.

The history of the Descendents is the stuff of legend, but for the purpose of this review it can simply be distilled down to the following: California-based band develops an infectious (and soon to be oft-imitated) mix of pop and punk over the course of a handful of classic releases before going on hiatus (with the remaining members continuing on as ALL) while singer Milo Aukerman infamously pursues a career in biochemistry.  And other than a couple of half-baked reunion/reboots in the interim, the band has remained on that hiatus for the better part of the last thirty years; that is until now.

Their first release in over a decade (2004’s one-off Cool to be With You notably marked the return of Aukerman), Hypercaffium Spazzinate finds Milo finally setting aside his daytime research gig in favor of fronting the band again full-time and the results are simply vintage Descendents.  As much as anything could, Hypercaffium Spazzinate bridges the thirty-year gap between the present and the band’s late-80’s heyday in a way that the in-between releases never quite managed to do.

The album is chock full of everything a longtime fan would want in a Descendents record; twenty-one cleverly written songs that get to the point quickly and pack a melodic punch.  The production is good, (but not ‘too good’) and the band sounds about as inspired as any bunch of fifty-something punks could ever hope to.  All the classic lyrical themes from the classic Descendents canon are here and one could easily imagine a ‘Milo Never Grew Up’ subtitle adorning to the whole affair.

Hypercaffium Spazzinate is everything that it could be, and exactly what it should be; a sonic sucker-punch of a second coming from a band whose years on hiatus have far outweighed their activity. The Descendents are finally ready for round two, and just in time for the third generation of So-Cal punkers everywhere.


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