And I always thought they were nu-metal, although, in my defence, I'll claim that it was the preference for shorts that had me linking them to Limp Bizkit and Korn than to The Offspring, Rancid and Fugazi that are their musical brothers.
Still, the world of American punk seems a little far from where Blink 182 now find themselves. Scanning through the credits and thanks on a Fugazi album, it's not actually possible to find a nod in the direction of God - "who gave me this wonderful chance", Tom DeLonge - or to a wife and unborn child - "the love of my life, Shanna and my soon to be born son, Landon Asher Barker", Travis. If this indicates that Blink 182 are growing up in public, then it's going to be tough for a band whose major label debut was called Enema Of The State and who continue to wear three-quarter length trousers despite pushing thirty.
Blink 182 opens with Feeling This, which struts like it owns the gaff and sings of the summer evening undressing of a girl. Uplifting and radio-friendly, Feeling This is the song that will get Blink 182 onto the radio but sounds three months out of date for, had this been released in August instead of November, it would seldom have been off the radio.
Next up is Obvious, which moves from the off like the Red Hot Chili Peppers but throws away that band's funk fetish for a blitz through the story of meeting up with an ex. Being the album's first real stutter, I Miss You opens with an acoustic guitar and in keeping with beginning nowhere, it never really goes anywhere either.
The best track on the album is Violence, which splits between the punk that you would expect and quiet moments that are lit only by the sounds of a distant piano and of a guitar amplifier humming and spitting in on itself. Despite it sounding like Sonic Youth's Providence on a first listen, it splutters with punk too frequently for that comparison to hold. Instead, Violence gets closer to Jawbreaker's Condition Oakland from their 24 Hour Revenge Therapy album in the manner it drifts in and out of shape, which is a high recommendation indeed.
After that highlight, Blink 182 mixes punk riffing with lyrics that hint at darkness but they seem halfhearted, as though the band believe this to be what has been asked off them. Even their attempts to mix in a new effect from some new gizmo they've been handed by their record company to keep their sound up to date sound uncomfortable with the 2m10s instrumental, The Fallen Interlude, being the strangest track on the album. Whilst it's not that this song doesn't completely work, the reaction is more, "why?" Had this experimentation been consistent throughout the album, there would have been no question over whether The Fallen Interlude was right for Blink 182 but as the only track on the album that breaks away from punk riffs, you get the feeling that the band's heart wasn't quite it in it.
There are still a few good songs after Violence - Down opens like Jane's Addiction but just lacks the sexy thrill of a record like Ritual do lo Habitual and Asthenia is as sharp a radio-friendly song as Feeling This - but Blink 182 never really gets itself together.
If you've already got a copy of Jawbreaker's 24 Hour Revenge Therapy, Etc. or Bivouac, I'd say stick with them but knowing that kids under eighteen will struggle with the San Francisco trio, Blink 182 will go down a storm with those already into Limp Bizkit and who are now finding out about the Nirvana albums owned either by their older brother or their dad. If not great, it's a good, solid album and tracks like Feeling This, Violence and Asthenia help it no end. It's sharp rock but either a little more heart in holding on to their punk origins or in moving their sound on a bit would have helped Blink 182.