All - Problematic
Epitaph Records

Problematic is a perfect title for the new All CD, because that's how I've
always viewed All. Don't get me wrong -- I love the Descendents -- but the
Descendents minus Milo has never really excited me. Even though Milo
didn't write most of the Descendents' songs, his voice was what made them,
it seemed.

All seem to have overcome this problem with their newest album. The only thing I can think of is that this album follows in the slick melodic punk that the Descendents last visited on 1997's "Everything Sucks". "Problematic" sounds similar enough to "Everything Sucks" that I rarely notice that it *isn't* Milo singing.
If you're not familiar with All, "Problematic" is a good place to start. The Descendents/All's lyrics have never strayed far beyond girls and dick jokes, but the former's songs show much lyrical maturity, and the latter topic is kept to one mercifully short song. All also tackles rich people, Christianity, and the media's perception of beauty among other topics on this album. Musically, All certainly isn't breaking any new ground, but they're not just treading on the ground they founded, either. The members of All have been playing melodic punk for nearly 20 years, and it shows. These guys know what works in a punk songwriting structure. You're going to get a perfectly mixed CD, where each instrument takes the forefront when necessary, and where everything is equalized at all other times. Chad Price's vocals are always audible, which is something nice to hear on a punk album.
I still don't think that All will replace the Descendents in my heavy rotation collection, but "Problematic" will be the first All album that I've owned that is not headed directly for the used CD bin.
...john heisel...

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