With ten tracks spanning a brief 26 minutes, Green Day’s 13th full-length Father Of All ... isn’t hanging around, as the veteran punk rockers return to the urgent college-punk sound of 1994’s career-defining Dookie.
The title track opener and follow up Fire, Ready, Aim tread the same path of furied power-chord riffs and the kind of shouted rock deliveries from lead vocalist Billie Joe Armstrong that you might expect from slightly more contemporary acts like The Hives or The Black Keys, albeit slightly buried in the mixes. Oh Yeah offers a similar drumming style, but the chorus offers a more melodious and psychedelic change, with group chants of “Oh yeah” destined for stadium shows.
It’s on I Was A Teenage Teenager and Sugar Youth, though, where Green Day find their groove. The punchy, 90’s skater-punk sound recalls the youthful aesthetic of their earlier releases.
Within seconds of these tracks, the group couldn’t sound closer to their middle-age – pushing 50, and churning out a painful bluesy/rock’n’roll number Stab You In The Heart. Even if it were written ironically, it’s dad-rock sensibilities are far too painful to handle.
The album highlight comes from Junkies On A High, which channels the kind of phrasing, delivery and lyrical content as 2004’s American Idiot, their biggest releasing record to date. It’s simple four-note riff escalates to huge booming snares and is the best mixed track here. Closer Graffitia is delivered in the same vein, as the mid-tempo punk beat and basic bass line develops into some tasty drum fills and another big singalong to close out Father Of All with the father of vocal hooks.
This probably won’t blow many people away, but, at times, it does feel like an ode to some of their best work, which fans will appreciate.