The slickest of AFI’s handful of releases, “decemberunderground” not only accepts the dreadful attributes of mainstream pop-punk, it actually embraces them. Derivative, soulless and plain ol’ muck, the record makes good on hardcore fans’ worst fears after the San Francisco-based band took all of its tattoos to Interscope. “Sing the Sorrow,” the band’s previous effort, its mainstream breakthrough, wasn’t anywhere near this hollow mess of tough-sensitive posturing, The songs practically sweat idiocy, guitars sometimes hard, sometimes soft, one emo-ific hook after another. It’s great to transcend boring genres—AFI continue with punk-pop-goth-borderline hardcore—but what does this band actually want to do with itself? Alienate everyone? It seems with every record, AFI has to start over again with new listeners, because past fans will jump ship. If you are a past fan and you’re still aboard, you only have yourself to blame. (Tom Lynch)
July 7 at Vic Theatre.