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Review: MxPx - "Plans Within Plans"

MxPx – “Plans Within Plans”

Simply put, MxPx has been one of the most influential bands in my life. I credit them and Blink 182 for getting me into punk rock music in the late 90s. I still remember going to The Exclusive Company one day and buying Teenage Politics, my first MxPx CD. I spun it for days. Fast-forward years later, and they are still churning out new music. Plans Within Plans is their first full length in five years, and boy was it worth the wait.

“Aces Up” is arguably the best opener they’ve ever written for an album. It’s fast and relentless with an awesome hook. “Screw Loose” takes us back to their older days, when much of their music consisted of songs less than 2 minutes in length and nothing but power chords. Actually, they’re still a power chord band, but whatever. It’s old school MxPx. And I noticed this more and more as I got further into the record. This isn’t full of a lot of filler as their latest album Secret Weapon, and didn’t feel as poppy and overproduced as the two albums before that one (Before Everything And After and Panic)… although I must note I LOVE Panic.

“Stay On Your Feet” is a song that represents what this band is all about. A positive song about getting through tough times that is almost TOO catchy. I didn’t mention every song, but the second half of this album is absolutely fantastic. “Lucky Guy” is one of my favorites as well. It’s about not being a perfect guy, but still being loved for who you are.

The first single, “Far Away” comes up next. This has been said to strongly resemble a Bad Religion, which is obviously a huge compliment in the punk scene. It picks up the pace a bit and even features a hardcore-style breakdown with screaming vocals. We haven’t heard something like this since “Get Me Out” from their Panic release. “Cast Down My Heart” is also a favorite on this… if anything for the groovy little guitar riff in the chorus.

This year marks the 20th year they’ve been a band, which is just remarkable. It sounds cheesy, this band — Mike, Tom, and Yuri have a place in my heart and have been a huge part of my life. The uber-popular AbsolutePunk.net website was originally a MxPx fansite. It’s really hard to describe the influence these guys had on so many bands. One time I paid $45 to get a one day pass to Lifest in Oshkosh to see these guys play for probably less than an  hour. But it was worth it.

Rating: ★★★★¼ 

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