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by Stephen Moore
Thursday, December 20, 2012
The second of three instalments from Billie Joe Armstrong and co. is a marked improvement, but still carries some dead weight.
The California punk-pop veterans seem to have been struggling for direction, fist-pumping inspiration and decent tunes ever since delivering the stadium-flattening American Idiot, now conquering Broadway and shortly to become a movie.
¡Uno! was a sickly puppy in comparison, and while ¡Dos! fares slightly better, there’s plenty of forgettable filler - pumping out their trademark hard rock schlock gets tiresome without the spark and spittle of an inspired lyric, idea or melody.
But, Stray Heart’s classic pop songwriting boasts taut bass and the best singalong chorus since 2009’s 21 Guns, while Lady Cobra offers thrilling, incessant pounding guitar and the exclamatory Wow! That’s Loud will be a stadium favourite with a ceremonial military guitar signature and stomping rhythm.
Nightlife’s experiment with female rap and a lascivious bassline doesn’t work but Bille Joe’s sweetly-plucked ballad Amy wins points. This song alone stokes hope for a stronger showing in the final round of this trilogy.