Two-thirds of the driving force behind Box Car Racer are from Blink 182, which isn’t as surprising as it sounds. After all, playing punk pop for teenagers hooked on MTV may inflate your bank account, but it doesn’t do much for your credibility. Fortunately, Blink-182 guitarist Tom DeLonge and drummer Travis Barker found a way around this quandary. The pair formed Box Car Racer and recorded this album, which strips back the gloss and brings on the noise.
Referencing explosive hardcore groups like Fugazi and Refused, who encase their euphoric melodies with barbed wire riffs and ear-splitting rhythms, may sound like an ominous route. But while Box Car Racer songs like “Maybe I Don’t” and “I Feel So” take on weightier subject matter than the typical slapstick fare of Blink 182, it’s ultimately not a huge departure. The record was produced by Jerry Finn, who helmed last three albums from Blink 182, and features singer/bassist Mark Hoppus as a guest vocalist. —Aidin Vaziri