Pop and hardcore punk fans can rejoice, because Washington’s MxPx is due to release their ninth studio album, Plans Within Plans, on April 3 after a five-year cold period. Over the past five years, free time for the recording and production of the record was few and far between with two-thirds of the group, Yuri Ruley and Tom Wisniewski, pursuing other careers. Despite all the downtime, the trio hasn’t missed a step, as they stick to their old formula of high-octane beats, catchy melodies and overtones of pop punk, a style that has carried them far in the last 18 years.

“Aces Up” leads us in and picks up right where the group left off with blisteringly fast beats and solid vocals. The song even conveys a valuable message about not giving up. Keeping along on the typical pop punk sounds are songs like “Nothing Left” and “Best Of Times.” These are the type of songs that evoke memories of just hanging out in the summer sun and dicking around with your buddies back when summer was the end-all be-all of everything fun and awesome.

MxPx has a good balance though throughout the disc, reverting back to the great hardcore punk sounds that got them started nearly two decades ago. The heavier punk influence is easily noticeable on tracks like “Screw Loose,” “In The Past,” and “Far Away.”

Everything on this record is spot on; Mike Herrera’s vocals and bass are great on tracks like “Aces Up” and “The Times,” Wisniewski shreds on guitar on “In The Past” and “Lucky Guy,” and Ruley is on snare overload throughout. It’s definitely one of their better discs and it makes me want to kick back with my friends and take out my old Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games. Long story short, Plans Within Plans delivers.

In A Word: Awesome

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