If you are expecting the old-school The Offspring, please close this page and move on. Thank you.
By judging Splinter from its first single Hit That, you know they are showing you different side of The Offspring. The heavy use of keyboard in the catchy melodies in Hit That almost makes you wonder “if this is The Offspring?”, yet, you can find the traces of Dexter and Noodles’ impeccable collaboration in the riffs and vocals. Comparing to old albums like The Offspring or Ixnay On The Hombre, Splinter sounds more like contemporary rock than punk. There is less fast straight-forward guitar sound but more complex mixing with diverse instruments and effects.
Neocon is a clever pick for the first track to kick off the album, a powerful intro with sounds like a marching army. It’s like bringing you into the journey of Splinter. As said before, generally this album has a more diverse sounds, ranging from alternative (Lighting Rob), punk (Can’t Get My Head Around You) and old-school punk (Da Hui) just to name a few. However, they did take it too far… with When You’re in Prison, which was tried to portray as the music for 60’s black and white movie, is a total failure. It’s neither funny nor deep, just a mindless mistake.
If you take a closer look in the lyrics, you would find there is no big surprise. I think they have put all of the effort on sound and miss out the lyrical part. This is a shame because obviously Dexter Holland can write amazing lyrics like songs in Americana, Cool to Hate and The Kids Weren’t Alright. Still, there are a few pieces of good lyrical works in Slpinter. My favorite is definitely Race Against Myself, another song Dexter has successfully created to make his listeners’ heart aching.
“I’ve tried as hard as I can/I’ve taken all I can stand/But I am running a race against myself” Race Against Myself, track 5
To sum up, Splinter is a half-good-half-bad production by The Offspring. Not that the album itself is at low standard ‘cause I have great appreciation for it; but, for fans who have been expected for four years for some red hot punk rock sound it’s going to fail them. If you like their last album Conspiracy Of One, I’m sure Splinter will fulfill your expectation. But if you’re more interested in their earlier albums like “Smash”, maybe you have to wait for another four years and wish they would go back to their roots.