Blink 182 – California (2016)

(Words by Burra)

Ok, so I’ll state the obvious, but there may be a lot of people who may not realise founding member Tom DeLonge is no longer a part of the group. Anyway… this is Blink 182’s first record with their revised lineup, featuring Mat Skiba who most of you will recognise as frontman of Alkaline Trio.

A nice opener to this album comes with the track “Cynical”, which might I add has a really lovely bass guitar-driven sound to it, leaning back to maybe a sound we haven’t heard since perhaps the Carousel era. This type of sound can be heard a lot more throughout the album, and often there is warm chord-based playing in places. “Bored To Death” is a really strong track and I think the perfect choice of main single from the album, which shows off their new look and fresh sound nicely; showcasing both the vocals of Skiba and Hoppus together.

Two personal highlights that stand out from this album for me are “Left Alone”, from which I really love the vocals, and also “San Diego”; both tracks being the album’s kind-of ballads. I also really like the track “No Future”, which has some really nice input from Skiba where the song dips into very Alkaline Trio-esque sounds, especially when his vocals come in and really push the track to another dimension. This is probably a favourite bit from the whole album.

Overall though, I’d say this sounds a lot closer to Blink 182’s original sound than that of the last releases few from the band; especially the Dogs Eating Dogs EP, which was quite a dramatically different sound than what we were used to from Blink. There is a strong set of tracks here though; the only weak points and my only criticism being the little filler tracks “Built This Pool”, which I feel could have easily been left out as it doesn’t really fit with the vibe of the rest of the stuff here, and “Brohemian Rhapsody”, which again is just a quick bit of filler in an album that doesn’t necessarily require any.

I can imagine however that there are lot of fans still unsure what to think of this album – or perhaps quite divided over it – maybe even a little bitter still at the departure of DeLonge. It still takes some getting used to myself; however I do think they made the right choice in who they’ve chosen to replace DeLonge – there’s no question of that, and it makes for a great album nonetheless.