Still rocking, still relevant, still unmistakably Descendents.
Released: 29th July 2016
Milo Aukerman has appeared in his iconic caricature form on many a Descendents sleeve down the years – but he’s never looked quite like this. The artwork for ‘Hypercaffium Spazzinate’ sees the band’s frontman’s head attached to a conical flask – in order to try and “synthesize some bonus caffeine,” he explains. It seems to have worked as the legendary punk rockers return with a typically stimulating first full-length release in over a decade.
Milo mentions how the band have stayed “inspired over the years [by] having the music as an outlet for [their] frustrations” – and it’s an outlet they’ve utilised to full effect here. Some of the 16 tracks that make up ‘Hypercaffium Spazzinate’ are drawn from very specific personal experiences. ‘Testosterone’, for example, arose from Milo’s being “surrounded by these egotistical, arrogant scientists all the time” while working as a molecular biologist. Others, though still very much inspired by the real lives of the band’s members, are more instantly – and perhaps more widely – relatable, such as the rejection-tackling ‘On Paper’ and rather self-explanatory ‘Victim Of Me’.
‘Hypercaffium Spazzinate’ saves the best until last, though. Autobiographical finale ‘Beyond The Music’ is an affectingly nostalgic trip down Descendents memory lane, a celebration of how the band has kept the members bonded all these years. “This is our family and it will always be that way, beyond the music,” sings Milo. Is that a hint that Descendents are close to calling it a day? Only they could answer that. In any case, given that their last three albums prior to this came in 1987, 1996 and 2004 respectively, there might be a fair wait if there is to be another. But fear not, their latest is one to be savoured. It proves that they’re still rocking, still relevant, still unmistakably Descendents. Tom Hancock