The cover of Green Day’s 13th album is a close-up of the sleeve of one of their biggest sellers, 2004’s American Idiot, on which is superimposed a cartoon of a unicorn puking a rainbow. What can it mean? Perhaps that the US has become even dumber since the era of George W Bush and the Iraq invasion that angered the punk-pop trio so much back then. However, you’ll have to look harder to find political fury here.
The hyperactive single Fire, Ready, Aim is nothing more complex than the new theme tune for Wednesday night ice hockey on NBC. Junkies On A High, the only slow song amid a head-spinning flurry of 10 tracks, sees frontman Billie Joe Armstrong in nihilistic mode, singing: “Drink it in, dumb it down, suck it up/As we watch the world burn.”
After the 70-minute 21st Century Breakdown in 2009, and the three albums they released in four months in 2012, Father of All… can’t help but feel like a minor work. It’s the Californian band’s shortest collection at a mere 26 minutes in total. If it was any more basic it would be titled “Back to Basics” and come with a free rock.
There are some minor innovations, such as the whizzy falsetto Armstrong adopts on the title track, and the organ marching boldly through Graffitia. Plenty of the songs will feel like great fun when the band play Wembley Stadium in the summer, but this is a sugary snack — nothing of real substance.