en: ¡Dos! [info]
A common verdict returned on a multi-volume set from any artist is that a single album's worth of truly great material can be plucked from its composite parts. With this series' final instalment, ¡Tre!, due in December (2012), time will tell if that's true in Green Day's case.
In the meantime, ¡Dos! has the same common traits as its predecessor, ¡Uno!. Plenty of the songs here are punchy and agreeable, reminiscent of the California band's breakout 1990s material; but, inevitably, these songs lack their youthful hunger and drive, which swung them back and forth between a snarl and a goofy grin. They also haven't jettisoned their admirable trait of trying something different with each album.
Dig beneath several bright tempos and ¡Dos! actually has quite a dark heart. F*** Time and Stop When the Red Lights Flash both have an undertow of sex and violence, while Lazy Bones skitters and rattles but only to underpin lyrics that long for time to rest and relax.
The shadow cast by frontman Billie Joe Armstrong's recent on-stage tirade and subsequent stay in rehab is difficult to ignore here. Perhaps the burst of productivity that equipped the trio with three albums' worth of songs may have been borne out of an energy that was part anxiety.
There are certainly peaks and troughs. Wild One is anything but, and the closing ballad of Amy - a tribute to the departed Ms Winehouse - is a heartfelt but slightly awkward finale.
Where ¡Uno! had a vote-splitting foray into slinking indie rock in Kill the DJ, ¡Dos!'s experimentation arrives in the form of Nightlife. A collaboration with female rapper Lady Cobra, it's a similarly low-slung affair. It also labours under a sleepy, reverberating vibe and is another frustrating case of a track that lacks both the immediate impact or the lingering blister of their finest moments.
¡Dos! may end up being the difficult middle child of Green Day's magnum opus, as it's neither particularly accessible nor a nostalgic feast for fans of 90s pop-punk. Instead, it seems like part of an as-yet-incomplete whole.