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NOFX – [Album]

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Wednesday, 19 September 2012

"So is it better than their last one? Or is it worse?” asked a friend and fellow fan when I told him I was reviewing the new NOFX record. It might sound crass, but the question is valid in the eyes of some fans; over the last little while, NOFX has experimented with a bunch of new ideas and different angles to their music. Some of them have been great and some of them haven't, but fans have supported the band without fail in hopes that “whatever comes next will be awesome.” That kind of support is admirable but, after a string of perfectly average singles and EPs (“Cokie The Clown” and “My Orphan Year” were the exceptions to that), some fan would eventually notice they've been repeating that mantra for nearly ten years and wonder when a really good LP might appear from the band – if such a thing was even possible anymore.

…And then, as easy as flipping a switch, NOFX answers both questions and prayers and makes something great happen with Self Entitled. “72 Hookers” opens the record and starts warming listeners up with some skate-ready melodic hardcore guitars, and then “Fat” Mike Burkett pipes up with the words, “Seventy-two virgins could never stop a war/ But a hundred thousand hookers could beat the Marine Corps” and shows listeners the difference; the “personal growth and songwriting improvements” which developed through songs like “My Orphan Year” and “Cokie The Clown” were good, but they don't hold a candle to the social criticism that the band has always had at its core. They haven't looked at it much for a while, but the sardonic humor and critique on western domestic philosophy reappear undiminished here, and every fan will know it the moment they hear it.

That's right, it's good – but not only that, while they never really left, NOFX is back in their finest form on Self Entitled.

Throughout songs including “72 Hookers,” “I Believe In Goddess,” “I, Fatty” and “X-mas Has Been X'ed,” NOFX steps up (again) and challenges social concerns surrounding organized religion (“I don't believe in God, I believe in Goddess/ I don't believe in prayer, I believe in worship/ I don't believe in destiny, but I could be in luck/ I don't believe in people cause they don't give a fuck” from “I Believe In Goddess”), the media's objectification of women and the effect it might be having on children (“I Fatty”) and the frustrating necessity of being politically correct so that no one is left outside of society (“X-mas Has Been X'ed”) with a focused and channeled aggression of a potency that the band hasn't shown in years. Even better, the sound and ideas in it has finally been streamlined and perfected; now with Bill Stephenson manning the board (Brett Gurewitz was the last one to produce an album like this by NOFX), the band's efforts come through as muscular and incisive rather than being dogged by the same production cliches which used to appear on Bad Religion albums. The result, fans will be happy to discover, is the best NOFX album to come out in almost ten years; here, with a renewed focus and clear desire to get back to basics, NOFX just makes something great happen and proves that, not only are they still able to make this music, they're still at their best when they're doing it.

Artist:

www.nofxofficialwebsite.com/
www.myspace.com/nofx
www.facebook.com/pages/NOFX-Official-Page/
www.twitter.com/FatMike_of_NOFX

Further Reading:

Ground Control – NOFX (Discography Part One)
Ground Control – NOFX (Discography Part Two)
Ground Control – NOFX (Discography Part Three)
Ground Control – NOFX (Discography Part Four)

Album:

Self Entitled
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon, or directly from Fat Wreck Chords here .

no-cover

NoFX – [Album]

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Tuesday, 12 May 2009

For the last twenty-four years (give or take), NoFX has enjoyed a sort of extended adolescence because they've managed to keep a perfect balance of sophomoric lyrical content (jokes about the human body as well as its tolerance for consumption of drugs and alcohol and the comic results of testing those limits) and prescient social and political commentary that always sounds fresh and biting rather than repetitive. To date, it's been an easy road to run but, maybe because the bandmembers are now in their forties, Coaster marks a noticeable change in NoFX – it's the sort of reflection that most mid-to-late teenagers experience when they discover that all things are finite; including the amount of time that one has to get bombed and sketched out before it starts to sound mawkish and piteous.

That is not to say that NoFX spontaneously went grey in the three years between 2006's Wolves In Wolves' Clothing and Coaster, only that it's impossible to miss the change beginning to take shape within the band (but particularly in singer “Fat” Mike Burkett) in these twelve tracks. There are, of course, songs about getting hammered (“First Call,” “I AM An Alcoholic”) and those that will cause every mischievous would-be media terrorist to get a little tingle (“Best God In Show,” “Creeping Out Sara”) in their flagrant subversion, and they're on par with anything the band has done on Punk In Drublic or before – but those songs are tempered and balanced by moments of self-reflection more aged and genuinely personal than anything the band has done previously. While first person narratives are common on Coaster (“We Called It America” and “The Agony Of Victory” stand out), without a doubt the most revealing of these tracks – from a songwriting growth standpoint anyway – is “My Orphan Year.” In that song, Fat Mike confides his guilt regarding his parents' passing (it happened in 2006) and stands more emotionally bare in front of his audience and – while he's still backed by a far more dry-eyed and raging push by guitarist El Hefe, bassist Eric Melvin and drummer Erik Sandin than one would expect to support such candid sentiments. The song also represents the single greatest shift toward more personal songwriting that NoFX has ever attempted before and the promise that it represents is easily the most engaging part about it; finally, for the first time listeners are given a clearer glimpse at what, other than bravado, NoFX is made of and with it comes the implication that more developments and growth are in the works. While even the name of this album implies that it's disposable trash, the material contained on it marks the beginning of what might a new direction for the band – if Burkett doesn't decide to just chuck it, of course.

Artist:

NoFX official web site

NoFX myspace

Download:

“The Quitter”
“Creeping Out Sara”

Album:

Coaster is out now. Order it on amazon or from the band's official store

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