Long Beach, CA's Maxeen fuses punk, new wave, and power pop with tremendous finesse on its self-titled debut. Drawing on influences like the Pixies and U2 while corralling its own sound, the outfit frequently conjures up visions of the Police on amphetamines. In fact, frontman and bassist Tom Bailey delivers his lyrics with the same type of wiseass exuberance that Sting used to craft Outlandos d'Amour and Reggatta de Blanc back in the day. If the songs on Maxeen seem derivative at times, they also embody a uniqueness, thanks to drummer Jay Skowronek and guitarist Shannon McMurray's charged playing and Bailey's frazzled lyrical outlook. America's children are desensitized to violence on the explosive "Please"; an Internet girlfriend gets the boot on the marvelously executed, worldbeat-steeped "Delete Lola"; and the music biz gets the middle finger on "Strangers." Veteran producer Ed Stasium gives the record a vibrant, punchy feel, but above all else, the members of Maxeen -- together just a year at the time they committed these dozen rockers to tape -- thrive on their own chemistry. With nary a clunker on the disc, the result is one of 2003's most auspicious debuts.
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To say a few words, Maxeen's self-titled album is one of the best. They balance a sound between ska/punk/rock. If you're into any of those three genres, you should check it out! It rocks!