The Mark, Tom & Travis Show: The Enema Strikes Back

But it's the between-track comments that really make this painful listening. ..

The Mark, Tom & Travis Show: The Enema Strikes Back [I](MCA Records)[/I]

It’s been said before that Americans can’t do irony. And although such stereotyping may be unfair, listening to Blink-182 really does make you wonder. You hope that they’re so clever they’re building a career on sending up the archetypal Beavis band from the States, that they’re showing just how much anyone can get away with if they play dumb. Maybe they’re testing everyone to see how seriously we’ll take them, laughing at us as they count the cash.

If only we could somehow rationalise this racket by crediting Blink-182 with the brains to think that up. One listen to this dreadful live album (all the mind-numbing hits and the odd unreleased track) and you know there’s nothing funny about this. The gawky, comic book humour is too genuine for that (no-one could allow such embarrassing quips to pass their lips without wincing otherwise) and the punk-pop-by-numbers is far too studied. They might act like clowns between songs, but there’s no doubt that Blink-182 think their music as important as any other band would, not to mention far superior to the boy bands they sent up in their video to ‘All The Small Things’.

Twenty thrashing three-minute tracks later, though, and the only thing that impresses here is how the band have got this far without knowing more than four chords. Which they repeat. In the same order. In every song. Also, Tom, Mark and Travis have the sort of bratty, squealing voices that make you want to gouge out your own eyeballs for a distraction, the vocal equivalent of fingernails screeching down a blackboard, especially on the tedious, er, comedy tracks like ‘Blow Job’ and ‘Family Reunion’.

But it’s the between-track comments that really make this painful listening. The trio are still thrilled by the whole notion of swearing and remain more obsessed by bodily functions than the average seven-year-old. At various points, they twitter about herpes, their mothers’ underwear, getting laid and shitting their pants while asleep. No, really, it’s hilarious.

Frankly, the tragic sound of three men so desperately trying to avoid growing up is plain depressing. Or maybe we’re just missing the joke. Either way, this is only out until mid-January, aiming – we assume – at the lucrative stocking-filler market. So start thinking about who you hate most in life now…

Siobhan Grogan