Pop punk gets a bad rap in the world of music. The cultural consensus seems to be that it is a genre for high school students, whose taste will eventually mature out of it. On their latest album, Backlash, Baby, The Max Levine Ensemble proves that is a facile claim. The album comes out on November 20th through both Rumbletowne Records and Lame-O Records.
Backlash, Baby is filled with catchy, fast songs, with only a few tracks as exceptions. Contrary to the pop punk stereotype, however, the band’s lyrics are clever and inquisitive. “My Valerian,”for example, compares a lover to the sedative herb. The track runs at mid-tempo, making it one of those few exceptions, but the guitars still thunder in the foreground.
“Sun’s Early Rays” follows “My Valerian” on Backlash, Baby, but quickens the pace. The track is strongest example on the record of a grown-up pop punk song. It’s fast, it’s catchy, it’s got a great hook, but the lyrics are not simplistic. “Sun’s Early Rays,” as the band’s David Combs told BrooklynVegan in an interview “is about global warming and the video [see below] is a loose metaphor for that.”
For any listener interested in a catchy, fast-paced, and clever record, The Max Levine Ensemble’s Backlas, Baby is a great choice.