For a full review of the original version of California, click here.
Less than a year after the release of California, the new Matt Skiba-fronted, Tom DeLonge-less Blink-182 proudly present a ‘deluxe edition’ of that same record. Appending ten new songs to the pre-existing sixteen, Blink continue to do themselves a solid service with the new line-up.
The songs subtly capture an aged group, with self-reflexive lyrics that only teeter on the hammy, saved by an aversion to the idiocy of the DeLonge years. 6⁄8 is a fun experiment in an alternative drum-timing, with semi-sincere post-hardcore leanings tonally; Parking Lot is a classic Cali-punk banger. A wealth of the new stuff here is pretty sad too; such that it might have seemed fractionally out of place on the generally more restless California LP-proper. With Misery bridging the gap, songs like Last Train Home and Long Lost Feeling build on the Blink behind I Miss You.
Choicely, then, the new Blink-182 don’t avoid silliness completely – but their handling of tongue-in-cheek dumb-and-dumber-isms is, as on the parent record, balanced (these continue to be the record’s shortest songs).
In terms of a package, the deluxe format has been handled well. All the new songs are great additions to the main album (save for the acoustic cover of Bored to Death at the end, which plays like a reprise –needlessly repetitive given all the new content, and, as such, a fraction incongruous, not least as it’s a live recording). Better still, the second disc is semi-autonomous – its sadder energy helps to form something complete in of itself, but which is still very obviously owing.
Physically, the set is fantastic. There are even more vinyl variations than with the original album, and the decision to spread the material across two discs (the same on every format) makes upgrading to the new edition relatively inexpensive – and worthwhile, being as it comes with alternative artwork.