Having tackled concept albums ("21st Century Breakdown") and adapted its "American Idiot" for the Broadway stage, Green Day has stripped itself down and returned to rock-bottom basics for "¡Uno!"

It's the first of three albums to be released in rapid succession: "¡Dos!" comes out Nov. 13, with "¡Tré!" scheduled for Jan. 15. Those two will have to go a considerable distance to top "¡Uno!"

This edition of Green Day single-mindedly focuses on delivering straight-up, slamming rock 'n' roll using guitars, drums, bass -- and little else. Veteran producer Rob Cavallo captures the Bay Area trio at its rawest and most elemental with his crisp, forceful sound mix.

"¡Uno!" floors it with the opening whirlwind of "Nuclear Family" and doesn't let up until the midtempo closer "Oh Love." Tr Cool's drums snap these songs to life with whiplike accuracy, Mike Dirnt's bass sounds more limber than ever and vocalist/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong fills in the rest of the canvas with uncontained zeal.

Armstrong's songs bubble over with hooky melodies driven by powerful guitar riffs unadorned by extraneous production, with the exception of the occasional handclaps and rudimentary vocal harmonies. The results? Bliss.

The band harnesses its firepower to drive the full-bodied choruses of "Fell for You" and "Rusty James," while its roaring guitars and full-throttle delivery place "Let Yourself Go" and "Angel Blue" more on the power end of the power-pop spectrum.


Advertisement

With its seriously crunching riffs and handclap-driven tune, "Troublemaker" recalls Joan Jett at her peak. "Carpe Diem" uses a similar punchiness and Cool's explosive drums to propel its sing-along refrain, tossing in a brief, scorching solo for good measure.

"¡Uno!" overflows with bright, guitar-centric rock 'n' roll that's even more vibrant than its Day-Glo cover. Green Day has never sounded better. Note: Expletives pop up with some frequency throughout.