Intro: It must be pretty stressful to follow up a chart-topping, Grammy-winning concept album like “American Idiot.” So it makes sense that Green Day’s Billie Joel Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool would evade that pressure by releasing an album under a secret pseudonym, Foxboro Hot Tubs. “Stop Drop and Roll” is their chance to let loose.
Pros: Apparently, that means reviving the simple, catchy psychedelic, garage rock of the 1960’s. Foxboro Hot Tubs sounds like The Troggs and The Animals sped-up and updated for the 21st century. So the power chords are more jangly than distorted, the back-up vocals are more cooed than shouted and the guitar solos — well, now there are actually guitar solos.
Cons: Sometimes Foxboro Hot Tubs sounds a little bit too much like their influences. The rollicking, straightforward “Alligator” (sample lyric: “You alligator, you space invader”) brazenly mimics The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me.” Meanwhile, vintage recording techniques — they used eight-track reel-to-reels — sometimes leave the audio sounding washed-out and muddy.
Definitive Track: The album’s catchiest tune and first single is “Mother Mary,” which got a good deal of play on the radio thanks largely to its quick, persistent beat and sing-along post-chorus. The upbeat verses feature interplay between clean and distorted guitars along with deceptively dark lyrics: “all dressed up like a switchblade knife.”
Conclusion: “Stop Drop and Roll” isn’t a particularly original, complex or – for that matter – good record. But the fact that Billie Joe and Co. obviously had a whole heck of a lot of fun making it really shines through and gives Foxboro Hot Tubs a carefree charm that Green Day hasn’t had since “Dookie.”
Staff writer Nick Scheidies can be reached at email@example.com.