Green Day – Uno

September 28, 2012

What do punk bands do when they hit 40? There’s only so far snot, snarls, 3 chords and booze can get you before you end up a tubby waisted pastiche sporting too tight ripped jeans. The original innovators only stuck with the template for a year or two – Iggy Pop was punk before the name was coined, and had already moved on in the scene’s late 70s heyday. John Lydon had a couple of years of fast rock thrash before heading off on a cavernous sea of dub, and Joe Strummer embraced a wide world of music with The Clash, swerving clichéd retreads of White Riot for the proto hip hop of Radio Clash.

But the second wave revivalists- 90s American acts such as Rancid, Green Day and Offspring are in a different position. They have always looked backwards to a mythical year zero, and progress beyond then is an anathema. So whilst Green Day famously expanded their repertoire with some much needed political topicality on American Idiot, on Uno (the first instalment in a triple album series) they have reset to default: brash lyrics, formula chord changes, shouted backing vocals. That’s not to say they don’t know their apples- there are tracks on Uno that display Green Day’s mastery over a bratty pop punk hook.

Let Yourself Go echoes Ballroom Blitz, and is just as mindless, hooky, and entertaining as the title suggests, Troublemaker is a fair crack at the kind of swaggering garage The Hives got fat on, and album opener Nuclear Family is familiar Green Day territory, buzzsaw Ramones riffs and nasal vocals, knocked off with aplomb. But, in between, it all sounds a bit, well, tired. Kill The DJ is memorable as a stinking piece of cod reggae rock with terrible, moaning lyrics, and outside of that there are a whole bunch of half assed punk tracks that come and go without making any impact at all.

As the first part of a trilogy, !Uno! is pretty ominous. The good stuff doesn’t compensate for the whole lot of filler, and if they plan to spread the hits this thin over three albums, it’s doubtful there’s gonna be too many people left to care round the release of !Tre! If your not already a fan, probably best not to bother, and if you are, set your expectations low. 6/10

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