Label: Ato Records
The tooty-fruity New Age cover art -- a collage of triangles, tropical lands and cosmic hokum -- suggests 311 have gone chillwave. But longtime fans needn't worry: Universal Pulse is another crafty collection of ska-pop with light touches of hip-hop and funk. Produced by veteran knob-twiddler Bob Rock (who worked with the band on 2009's Uplifter), the album is packed with sonic candy. It also boasts a little guitar rock and synth-fried wooziness, like "Rock On" and "And a Ways To Go." This latter track is really kind of odd, not something one would expect from 311. A nice surprise, actually.