From 1994 through 2009, California punks Strung Out could be counted on to churn out an album every couple of years. During that span, the lads offered up nine full-length slabs — ranging in quality from so-so to really damn good —before hitting a wall after 2009’s underwhelming “Agents of the Underground.”
“You get to a point where you decide if you’re going to go on or stop,” frontman Jason Cruz explains. “Everyone just kind of lived life for a little bit. I think that’s pretty important if you consider yourself a songwriter or an artist of any kind. You have to LIVE and experience other things in your life to have something to write about, to give value to what you’re singing about.”
After a six-year wait, Strung Out — Cruz, guitarists Rob Ramos and Jake Kiley, bassist Chris Aiken and drummer Jordan Burns — are back with 10th long-player “Transmission.Alpha.Delta.” It’s a high-octane gathering of the melodic punk tunes the band’s have come to expect. With 12 tracks clocking in at almost 44 minutes, “Transmission.Alpha.Delta” is overstuffed by about a third … but it’s understandable considering the time that’s elapsed between Strung Out offerings.
The new album doesn’t rank among the band’s best releases — though Cruz predictably says it may be his favorite Strung Out slab — but the guys sizzle on standouts like “Rebellion of the Snakes,” “Modern Drugs,” “Black Maps,” “Tesla” and “Magnolia.” Strung Out don’t break any new ground here, but I’m guessing their fans won’t mind a bit. (Jeffrey Sisk)