Volume 90, Issue 75

Thursday, February 06, 1997



Child's play

The Offspring
Ixnay on the HombreColumbia

This time around, California punkers The Offspring have produced an album only a mother could love. It's one tough hombre to listen to.

The follow-up to the 1994 hit record Smash is a failed attempt by the group to improve on the clever vocal and guitar hooks of songs like "Self-esteem" and "Come out and Play (You Gotta Keep'em Separated)."

The opening track, "Disclaimer," features a spoken word cameo from Dead Kennedys' vocalist Jello Biafra, which states "[The Disclaimer] will cleanse any sense of innuendo or sarcasm from the lyrics which might actually make you think and will also insult your intelligence at the same time." The passage is a jibe aimed at those who wish to sticker albums with disclaimers to protect the intelligence of youth, but in the case of Ixnay on the Hombre, the statement should be taken without the intended sarcasm.

The band tries to experiment with different musical genres in several songs – all with limited success. The song "Gone Away," a move towards a hard-rock style, successfully mimics the sounds of an 80s heavy metal tune. However, with the lyrics in this song the producers should have done as the title suggested and left this one as an instrumental.

"All I Want," the album's first single, and "Don't Pick it Up," are the only songs possessing the same kick that made Smash a commercial success. The latter song is soft and slow for punk standards and comes off with a pop-rock sound. It is the one song which successfully achieves the goal of good genre experimentation this album was meant to contain.

Hombre is a carbon copy of The Offspring's previously successful formula used in Smash (which was nothing more than a two-hit wonder). Unlike their Berkeley brothers Green Day, who had considerable success with their follow-up album Insomniac, no one need lose any sleep over Ixnay on the Hombre being as popular.

However, this album does possess some originality. It starts with a disclaimer and halfway through there is an actual musical intermission – a creative silence which spices up an otherwise dry recording.

The voice of Larry "Bud" Melman at the end of the album sums up the direction The Offspring should go in future musical endeavours – "I think you guys should try heavy metal – kiss my ass."

–Kevin Gale

To Contact The Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997