Descendents

'Merican [EP]

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Review

After a seven-year hiatus, punk-pop pioneers the Descendents return with 'Merican, a solid five-song EP that picks up where the band left with 1996's Everything Sucks. The group's first release on Fat Wreck Chords, after a short tenure with Epitaph, finds Milo Aukerman, Bill Stevenson, Stephen Egerton, and Karl Alvarez revisiting the timeless lovelorn attack of cherished songs from their past like "Wendy," "Clean Sheets," and "Silly Girl" on the disc-opener, "Nothing With You." Made whole with an infectious chorus, unrelenting rhythms, and a buoyant guitar, the song gives way to the ferocious title cut, which harks back to vintage Bad Religion as it explores the black marks on America's history, from slavery to Vietnam. But such sociopolitical commentary is rare from the 'Dents, who downshift to the palatable midtempo number "Here With Me," which eventually gives way the manic, spastic "I Quit," a nervous, edgy "Catalina"-like throwback. Only the closing instrumental, a hidden number without an official title, is worth skipping, as it drags in a way that no Descendents number has a right to. ~ John D. Luerssen, Rovi