Older. More Mature. [B]'Warning'[/B] is the sound of a band losing its way.

Since [a]Green Day[/a] have been away, a lot of water has passed under the bridge. Their skate-rock fanbase has been wooed away by masked men who jump around in boiler suits and the frat boy tits’n’ass punk shlock of the likes of[a]Blink 182[/a].

When the band were signed to San Francisco’s DIY punk label Lookout! Records, concepts such as ‘the difficult second album’ were alien to them. They’d already released two bona fide classic albums before most of the band had reached their 20s. There was real depth and sincerity to their lovesick pop-punk, their songs were filled with wide-eyed enthusiasm and some of the catchiest hooks and choruses to never grace MTV.

Come major labels and millions of dollars, and the band, understandably, lost some of their innocent zeal. Billie Joe Armstrong started writing songs about going crazy with paranoia. Exhaustive touring schedules were said to have left the band physically and emotionally drained. The pressures of massive fame and all its associated perils didn’t sit well with a band that started out as three young kids playing to 30 punks in a San Francisco squat. It’s tough at the top.

This, their sixth opus and ‘widely anticipated comeback album’, has taken a good three years to write and record, with speculation of the band’s future rife amid tales of studio walkouts and ‘creative difficulties’. But if you ever needed proof that the band had a tough time making ‘Warning’ then just take a listen to it. The Day‘s trademark bubblegum punk rock guitars have all been turned down in favour of a less electric, more organic sound. Where once they rocked out, now they polka on the awful Levellers-like ‘Fashion Victim’ – a song about Gianni Versace. [I]Please[/I].

It’s not all as bad though, tracks like ‘Waiting’, with its Mamas And Papas melody and its Kiss Army hook, could sit respectably alongside the band’s best material. ‘Church On Sunday’ pays homage to ‘Oliver’s Army’ to decent enough effect, but on both songs, sadly, [a]Green Day[/a] sound too wary of rocking out. The Creedence Clearwater Revival flavoured ‘Macy’s Day Parade’ features a string arrangement similar to The Verve‘s ‘The Drugs Don’t Work’. Though it’s a decent enough song, did you ever think these three bands would get mentioned together?

Older. More Mature. ‘Warning’ is the sound of a band losing its way. [a]Green Day[/a] once made effortless 9/10 albums in less time than it takes Blink 182 to record a B-side. This new one took three years to record and deserves a middling 5/10. Go figure.

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