GOO GOO DOLLS: A Boy Named Goo
(Warner Bros./Metal Blade) **** (out of a possible 5)

If anyone is entitled to capitalize on the current punk rock boom, it should be Buffalo, New York's Goo Goo Dolls. They were playing hyperactive riff-rock punk-style way before it hit the suburbs, and they'll probably be playing it long after it all comes crashing down (if it ever does). The Goos' humor, energy, and kryptonitelike power blends in a way that few bands can muster, and the result sends headbangers, punk rockers, jocks, and alterna-heads alike into cataleptic fits. Not to mention that their fifth and latest record, "A Boy Named Goo" sounds fucking great.

This record finds the Dolls still in search of the ultimate melodic punk-pop groove. Johnny Rzeznik searches with his guitar, coming up with beautiful riffs and melodic counter-riffs, while Robby Takac probes with his bass and finds a disciplined, almost perfect bottom end. The search takes them through the whole spectrum of modern rock, from punk to breezy acoustic pop.

"Eyes Wide Open" and "Long Way Down" have the kind of killer hooks that wheedle their way into your brain and squeeze out the juice. "Ain't That Unusual" continues the straight-rockin' Paul Westerberg vein the Goos began with last year's "Superstar Car Wash." Punk rock reigns on "Disconnected" and the fantastic, garage-y rendition of "Slave Girl,"
a cover written by Australia's once-fabulous Lime Spiders. "Fuckin' up takes practice/I feel I'm well rehearsed," Johnny sings during the reggae-ish break to "Only One." Sounds like Green Day could take a lesson or two from the Goos. Why not jump on this train before it's too late?"
-Bob Gulla