ALBUM REVIEW: Blink-182 - California

Blink-182 - California (BMG).
Blink-182 - California (BMG).

Blink-182 are back with their second album since their reformation in 2009 and fans have already voted it a hit.

It went straight to the top of the charts in the UK, giving them their second chart-topper on these shores.

California is 16 tracks of brash pop-punk, and differs from their previous offerings as it's the first without founding guitarist/vocalist Tom DeLonge.

He left last year, for the second time, but this time, instead of the group going on hiatus, bassist/vocalist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker carried on, with a new member.

They recruited Matt Skiba of Chicago punk band Alkaline Trio, and, sharing vocal duties with Hoppus, he seems to have given Blink-182 a new lease of life.

California largely sees them return to the jaunty pop-punk style with which they made their name, and while there's nothing of the calibre of All The Small Things or What's My Age Again?, it's a cut above the rather plodding 2011 comeback Neighborhoods.

It kicks off with the upbeat, hook-laden Cynical, before Bored To Death reminds us of the darker side to their songwriting, and you fear the positive start is going to be wasted.

Fear not: She's Out Of Her Mind hits the spot nicely with the sort of catchy tune they made their own in their heyday, about a girl who's "got a black skirt, black shirt and Bauhaus stuck in her head."

The good songs outweight the not-so-good ones, with Sober, No Future and Kings Of The Weekend all worthy additions to their canon, though Teenage Satellites and The Only Thing That Matters sound a bit 'Blink-by-numbers'.

There's a couple of slower tracks too, to satisfy the fans who prefer that side of the band, and all in all, the good songs outnumber the poorer ones. Not a classic, but much better than I was expecting. 7/10.