Label: Hellcat Records
Following a three-year hiatus from independent projects, Rancid reconvenes with the album “Indestructible,” refining the band’s sound rather than altering it. Despite the lack of promotion, “Indestructible” attempts to salvage listeners on the fringes of the group’s fan base who may have found the previous album a bit too tough to swallow. Unlike the searing momentum of “Let’s Go” and “Rancid 2000,” the band’s sixth album bares Rancid’s slightly softer side, exposing emotional scars in songs such as “Fall Back Down” and confronting politics in the slower pace of “Arrested in Shanghai.” As usual, Rancid uses powerful content to balance decelerated tempos. Tim Armstrong’s gritty vocals drive through the center of the classic sound. Its edges may be dulled, but Rancid’s infallible formula for straight- up punk rock still touches fans. The group’s done it again, proving Rancid moves for no one.
Album: Everything and After
Genre: Pop Punk
Label: A&M Records
The squeaky clean promotion from the Partnership for Drug-Free America, the Pepsi Corporation and MTV has generated unprecedented publicity for the release of MXPX’s “Everything and After.” Apparently, that’s what these Christian rockers need to remain afloat in the new wash of harmony-driven pop-punk bands.The group’s melodies remain smooth, piling hook upon hook and hitting baselines in all the right spots. The resistance to stray from a sub-genre MXPX once dominated is understandable. On behalf of all those silly romantics, I will tolerate pervading sappiness, and I’m glad the youth of America has at least one non-sexual music role model. But, come on, some of the lyrics in songs like “Everything Sucks,” “You Make Me, Me” and “You’re Not Alone” are just friggin’ cheesy. Attention Middle School Mixers: You now have a soundtrack.