Descendents, “Hypercaffium Spazzinate”
Though it’s been twelve years since Milo made his last venture into Stereo Land, the Descendents have stuck steadfast to their M.O. Hypercaffium Spazzinate shows that they’re clearly embracing their age and prone to huge doses of sentiment as a result. Everything here is short and concise. Welcome back; let’s do this.
Track for track, Hypercaffium might be the band’s most consistent album to date. Even the songs that don’t blast you away—e.g. “Testosterone”—still rattle with energy and have enough of a chorus to evoke a reaction. And there are some absolutely phenomenal songs here, too. “Without Love” is a heart melter, the type of tune the Descendents could only write at this stage in their career. Singer Milo Aukerman croons, “Another day goes by / We can’t live like this anymore / Can’t live without love,” while guitars open up over the ride cymbal. It’s the pop music of dreams: unabashed, melancholy, and ageless.
“Smile” thumps from ennui-strewn verses to harmony-emblazoned choruses that swing to an old girl group rhythm. It’s a supreme piece of hardcore pop and the vocal harmonies are pristine. You could go for the anger of Sick of It All, or you could write a song that plainly states, “What I wouldn’t give to see you smile / Once in a while.”
“Beyond the Music” closes things out with a love song to the band’s hardcore brotherhood. When your group is thirty-seven years old, you can celebrate any way you like, and when the tunes are this good, a bit of sentiment is more than fine.