Nine records in and it certainly feels like The Offspring have got a lot left to prove. Across the board, 2008’s ‘Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace’ didn’t do exceptionally well, with many calling that the band were past their musical prime. Four years later, ‘Days Go By’ follows a similar suit, but there is still some hope left.
Initially, what proves frustrating is that many of the tracks are too reminiscent of other bands. The title-track sounds like the Foo Fighters on a lazy day, while at various moments ‘The Future Is Now’ and ‘Turning Into You’ possess strong similarities to particular Rise Against tracks. That doesn’t necessarily make them poor, in fact the latter two are good, yet that sense of familiarity from elsewhere certainly detracts from the enjoyment.
The tracks more suited to being restrained such as ‘All I Have Left Is You’ at times feel lacklustre and in turn underwhelming. ‘OC Guns’ is purely bemusing, with a reggae meets mariachi type feel that seems odd to justify, while the candyfloss pop quality to ‘Cruising California’ causes a real split of opinion. While its summery quality proves awkward at first, the unashamedly addictive bounce renders it infectious after a few listens regardless of the intensity of the initial dislike.
Despite a number of criticisms, the album improves greatly towards the end. The concluding trio of ‘I Wanna Secret Family’, ‘Dividing By Zero’ and ‘Slim Pickens Does the Right Thing and Rides the Bomb to Hell’ are the best three tracks by a long shot. With the quintessential Offspring bounce and the punkier elements that were severely lacking elsewhere, these three vary from each other, yet encompass what you expected through the record. However, it feels too little too late in terms of rescuing the entire album.
Unfortunately, ‘Days Go By’ doesn’t catapult them back to their prime; there’s a lot of issues that can be picked out, be it recognisable musicality or questionable song choices. Having said that, when The Offspring do get it right on this record, they are great.