THE OFFSPRING play Echo Beach Sunday September 2. See listing. Rating: NN
The Offspring's 90s charm was their ability to blend driving "whoa oh oh" hooks with a healthy Gen X sense of irony and detached self-loathing. In 2012, somehow still active into their 28th year, they still use that template but have lost the snotty, sarcastic edge.
At best, the songs on their ninth album are bland recreations of their past successes; they haven't lost the ability to write melodies that stick in your head. But when the songs are bad, they're really, really bad. Like, hide your face behind your hands bad.
OC Guns, for instance, is an attempted reggae song that reduces the genre to caricature. Cruisin' California (Bumpin' In My Trunk), meanwhile, is as cringe-worthy as the title. Over cheesy Europop beats, it recasts singer Dexter Holland as the awkward, unaware white guy he once gleefully mocked, "rapping" the word "caboose" with a baffling lack of irony.
Top track: Secrets From The Underground