Sure, there’s some angst here, but Chronicles is good fun and shows considerable artistic growth for pop-punkers, Good Charlotte. Long time fans needn’t worry; Chronicles has plenty of the loud, catchy pop-punk that the band is known for.

It’s formulaic Good Charlotte with the aptly named “Predictable,” but the boys obviously are moving on. The first clue is the album opener, “Once Upon a Time: the Battle of Life and Death,” an orchestrated number sung by what sounds like a choir of French schoolgirls. That song gives way to the title cut, done with a happy, Beatles-like sparkle that emphasizes the just-for-fun notion that prevails throughout Chronicles.

And is it just me, or is singer Joel Madden sounding more and more like Elvis Costello every day? It’s great to hear a group that refuses to be stagnant, and while not every experiment here works, there are moments of near-genius that make Chronicles a keeper.

Grade: A-

The Chronicles of Life and Death is currently available.