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This album continues to grow on me after being something of a shock when I first heard it. Why? Because initially the record label sent me a link to hear these new OFFSPRING tracks online and they were in a different order to how they appear on the actual CD release. That posed a significant problem for this reviewer since the first song on the list sounded horrifyingly like a cross between COLDPLAY and LINKIN PARK. That song was called ‘A Lot Like Me’ which along with the acousticly driven ‘Kristy, Are You OK?’ is one of the more ballad type tracks on this release. There’s nothing wrong with that, I just felt a little ripped off after hearing about how this album was supposed to mark a return to the sound of old for THE OFFSPRING. But while those two tracks would indicate no, the CD release of ‘Rise And Fall, Rage And Grace’ turns out to be a digi pack of great times to be had, so the story has a happy ending after all. Kicking off with ‘Half-Truism’ the album rips into that classic ‘Smash’ (1994) / ‘Ixnay On The Hombre’ (1996) sound boosted with new milennium production quality and a slightly radio friendly chorus. Even the following three tracks – including the single ‘Hammerhead’ – are a similar affair which is all good by me! We then hit that COLDPLAY / LINKIN PARK tune (maybe I’m being a bit harsh) and ‘Kirsty, Are You Doing OK?’ before getting back to the Punk Rock. I’ve always enjoyed that quirky side to THE OFFSPRING’s music with songs like ‘Don’t Pick It Up’ and on this album you’ve got ‘Stuff Is Messed Up’, an insight into the madness of our world… “Shopping Sprees, RPGs, Ecstacy, Atrophy, Genocide, Pimp My Ride!” Great song! I just dont understand why, in this libreal age we live in, that it had to be called ‘Stuff Is Messed Up’ when the lyrics are actually “Shit is fucked up”. Surely that’s what the “Warning” sticker on the front of the album is for. Speaking of the cover, nice artwork! It means business just as the ‘Rise And Fall, Rage And Grace’ album does. As much as I didn’t think it at first, this CD really is about as close as you’ll probably hear THE OFFSPRING get to that destinctive sound they had back in the 90s with albums like ‘Smash’ and ‘Ixnay’. I wouldn’t go as far to say that it betters those releases but it makes a fine addition to my OFFSPRING collection and really brings back some memories. Check it out!

Review by Dave Borgioli-Jones