Narendra Kusnur's music musings …


iUno!/ Green Day

Genre: Rock

Warner Music/ Rs 395

Rating: ***

FOLLOWING the super-success of its 1994 album ‘Dookie’, American band Green Day has been at the forefront of the punk-rock movement. After choosing a similar style on ‘Insomniac’ and ‘Nimrod’, it experimented with the brilliant concept albums ‘American Idiot’ and ‘21st Century Breakdown’.

The group’s latest album iUno! Is the first of a trilogy, with iDos! And iTre! planned over the next few months. In the 12-track effort, Green Day goes back to its earlier sound, using influences of favourites like the Clash, Sex Pistols, the Ramones, the Damned and Billy Idol.

The album has its pluses and minuses. On the positive side, the songs are crisp and short, with the entire album lasting 41 minutes and only three pieces going over the four-minute mark. Moreover, the musicianship is tight, with vocalist-guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong, bassist-vocalist Mike Drint, drummer Tre Cool and guitarist Jason White in top form, and producer Rob Cavallo doing a neat job.

On the flip side, there’s nothing new or outstanding about the overall sound. Despite some good tracks, what’s missing is a stand-out classic ― in fact, nothing in the same league as ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’ and ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’. And yes, there’s an overuse of the ‘f’ word, which may be typical in punk rock, but seems a little forced and unnecessary here.

The album actually starts off well, but after a while, a bit of sameness creeps in. The opener ‘Nuclear Family’ has strong lines like “Like a Chinese drama and conspiracy, It’s the death of the nuclear family, staring up at you”, and ‘Stay The Night’ has a strong hook, smooth guitars and tight arrangements. ‘Carpe Dien’, which starts off with Armstrong singing “Breaking in a sweat like a bomb threat, is your silhouette fading out”, is one of the stronger tracks, with a crisp guitar line.

Thereafter, the repetition begins. The hardcore punk-rocker ‘Let Yourself Go’ and the punk-pop number ‘Kill The DJ’ brim with explicit and amateur lyrics. ‘Fell For You’ is melodic but routine, and ‘Loss of Control’, ‘Angel Blue’ and ‘Rusty James’ seem like similar-sounding cousins.

The latter half has a couple of cool numbers like the Weezer-like ‘Troublemaker’, which has a splendid guitar solo, and the teenager-friendly ‘Sweet 16’. If the band goes in for a change in sound, it’s only on the final number ‘Oh Love’, which begins “Oh love, oh love, won’t you rain on me tonight, Oh life, oh life, please don’t pass me by.” In fact, this is the only song which stands out.

Despite its obvious flaws, iUno! may click with those who prefer the band’s earlier sound. One doesn’t know what the next two albums of the trilogy have to offer, but the least one can hope is that they show a little more variety.

RATING SCALE: * Poor; ** Average; *** Good; **** Excellent; ***** Classic

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