| POSTED BY: DON SAAS
We're far removed from any era where pop-punk music holds any serious sway in the musical landscape. That whole movement sucked down its last truly relevant breath with Green Day's American Idiot in 2004, and it's become an increasingly niche market ever since. Still, there was a time when bands like Blink 182 and the Offspring were selling tons of records and Good Charlotte and Taking Back Sunday hadn't become the punchline of an entire musical movement. One of the best bands of that whole era to achieve mainstream success was Eve 6 whose first, self-titled album and second album, Horrorscope, have aged far better than many of their peers. They've returned with their first album in nine years, Speak in Code, and if it doesn't quite reach the constant fun of their glory days, it's only because we're so far removed from an era where these sounds rang as true. Still for everyone who grew up with Eve 6's fun pop-punk, Speak in Code will transport you right back to those days when you heard "Inside Out" and "Here's to the Night" for the first time.
If Speak in Code suffers in any area, it's that the first three tracks are so much fun that it ultimately over-emphasizes the weaker moments on the album. From the opening riffs of "Curtain," Max Collins' speak-sing lyricism and Jon Siebel's head-banging guitar riffs instantly made me want to strap on a pair of Vans, grab a skateboard, and raise all sorts of hell with my friends. "Victoria," the album's best track (if for no other reason than it is the one that most embraces more modern musical trends with considerable success), recalls the Killers with its electronic arrangements and maximalist pop melodies. It's hooks dig in deep and its melody is instantly memorable. Even the sort of silly "Infatuation Situation," is so damn catchy that you immediately forget that you're listening to guys in their mid-30s sing these types of songs. Then the album segues into "B.F.G.F." and you start to over-intellectualize the album (and the weirdness of these guys still singing these songs) that the pleasure of the album begins to wear off a little.
If you really pay attention to the lyrics on tracks like "B.F.G.F." or "Lions' Den," you might think the album is a little too ridiculous/earnest for its own good. Though, having seen Eve 6 perform live just this week and having interviewed Jon Siebels as well, Max Collins is honestly just that sincere of a guy so it's probably unfair to complain about his seeming like too much of an idealist/romantic. However, if you decide to just let Speak in Code wash over you without trying to analyze it too deeply, it's an undeniably fun record. Lead single "Lost and Found" is unvarnished retro pop fun. Max Collins has always had an absurd talent for hooks and it hasn't gone away one bit. So even if Speak in Code isn't the most groundbreaking or "challenging" album of 2012, if you want a fun ride back to the 1990s, Eve 6 will more than have you covered.