Of all the labels to be unfairly saddled with, the oxymoronic "Christian punk" tag has dogged this Pacific Northwest trio for more than a decade. Sure, these fine, not-so-young lads don't spew expletives like hardcore legends Black Flag, nor do they wallow in sexual depravity like punk godfather Iggy Pop, but MxPx's brand of bracing, emotionally charged punk is both authentic and dynamic. The band's latest, Panic, is bursting with full-throttle odes to rejection and isolation: the same themes the Ramones two-chorded into history, the idea of politics of the home, the economic ramifications of capitalism and the things that made "Beat on the Brat" just as good of a punk song as "Anarchy in the U.K." Despite any stilted promotional gimmick, the members of MxPx aren't angels; they're three guys playing punk as if the term still meant something, with power and catchiness to spare but not a "fuck you" within earshot.


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