In 1997, hot from the success from their third full length Smash
the Offspring were faced with a timeless problem, of bands of past and present. How do you follow up your greatest achievement? Do you water-down your sound, appealing to the more mainstream part of the audience, or do you heavy it up, to please the smaller, yet more dedicated size of your fans? Luckily, with The Offspring's fourth and arguably best album Ixnay On The Hombre
finds the perfect medium, fusing their melodic hardcore roots with more pop-rock influenced tendencies of the time, and in this fusion, the band solidifies their status as one of the best punk bands to ever exist.
When it comes to the art of fusing metallic hardcore with fun, easy going pop-punk, The Offspring are unequaled. While guitarist Noodles (Kevin Wasserman) isn't the most accomplished of players, his style is quintessential in creating the trademark Offspring sound. His fusion of punk, pop, metal and sometimes even ska helps him create his own unique style, one that so far, has unable to be replicated with such great success. In songs like Leave It Behind
Noodles playing is very metal influenced, with a heavy guitar intro, and a pseudo metal guitar palm muted throughout the verse. Other tracks such as The Meaning of Life
and All I Want
sees the guitarist straddling the line between classic hardcore and modern punk, with blindingly fast, yet melodic lines. Way Down The Line
features its outro has a happy, playful ska guitar line, while Me & My Old Lady
even shows some slight Middle Eastern tinged playing, a rarity for the genre. When it comes to Dexter Holland's vocal performance, his lack of technical ability to sing has never sounded so good. He may not the have the greatest range or tone, but his voice is another defining factor of the band. It is also quite noticeable that his voice since Smash
is much less gruff or aggressive as it was before.
Ron Welty also proves on this album his versatility as a drummer. Like the guitars, his drumming blurs the lines between hardcore and pop-punk quite often on the record. The Meaning of Life
displays the the typical double bass pedal style of hardcore, while songs like Gone Away
and Change The World
display a more emotional style of playing, led by feeling. In I Choose
he even adds other percussive instruments such as bongos and a tropical style of drums to his approach. On the bass front, Greg K. proves that simplicity may be best, with his bass lines almost always matching the guitar lines. While in most cases, this factor would be a negative point, in the case of The Offspring, any deviation from the guitars isn't necessary, with the bass helping to create a thick, powerful sound. However, this is not to say that Greg K. doesn't get his share of shining moments, with his bass being a standout moment on I Choose
In creating Ixnay the Hombre
, The Offspring not only matched the level of songwriting seen on Smash
but actually eclipsed it. Each and every song on the album is a classic, whether it be the highly popular singles, or any of the other tracks on the album. With this brilliant album, The Offspring proved their worth, and instead of being known as "that one band with that one hit album" they will forever be known as one of the best bands in not just their genre, but in the world.