Friday, June 01, 2012

Get OFF!

Saying that OFF! is a great band is about as insightful as proclaiming that The Pope is Catholic or that LeBron James is good at basketball. Unless you've been living under a rock for the past couple years, you're well aware of the group's greatness. But how's that new album? Well, some people will tell you that another OFF! album in the exact same vein as The First Four EPs is pretty much pointless. While others will insist that OFF! self-titled is an instant classic of its genre. Me being me, I'm bound to agree far more with the latter view. Sure, at this point we've lost the surprise value of OFF! reviving the Nervous Breakdown era Black Flag sound like 1978 never ended. But come on: it was never the "novelty" of OFF! that made you buy their records and go to their shows. OFF! worked (and continues to work) not because it's a neat concept, but rather because the band itself is fucking incredible. Keith Morris, at age 56, still puts every teenage punk rock screamer out there to shame. And his band mates absolutely crush it, exhibiting a tightness and fury that are pretty much unsurpassed in today's punk world. Forget comparing it to The First Four EPs. On its own merits, OFF! totally rips. By no means has the playbook been altered. But, really, did it need to be? Keith is still really pissed off about a whole lot of things, and he's in raging form throughout this 16-song, 16-minute smackdown of textbook hardcore punk. Greg Ginn in his prime had nothing on Dimitri Coats. And that rhythm section is relentless! Nothing fancy here, folks. OFF! come fast and hard and leave nothing but a trail of destruction. This is one of those "crank it to max volume and scream along 'til you're hoarse" type albums that you'll want to put on whenever you're in a super foul mood or just feel like getting out some aggressions. "I Got News For You" is directed at a certain someone, but for your purposes its hostilities can easily be transferred to whomever is enraging you at the moment. And given our current eve of destruction zeitgeist, tracks like "Toxic Box" and "Borrow and Bomb" come off like veritable anthems for 2012. When you can bring the fire the way OFF! does, the issue of stylistic stagnation is pretty much a moot point.

Ever notice that when some douche bag pulls up next to you on the road and he's got his car stereo blasting at earsplitting levels, he's always listening to shit music? And then you want to get out of your car and punch the dude in the face? Just once, I'd like that to not be the case. It would make my day if I came across a fellow driver jamming to "Wiped Out", "503," or "Cracked" at an obnoxiously loud volume. Hell, it would probably make my year! Buy this album, and you have my permission to dial up the decibels! Is OFF! essentially a rehash of the singles? Uh, yeah. And I wouldn't want it any other way.



Charles Matthews said...

Well, Josh, if you had happened to be driving around Ann Arbor the other day you may have pulled up next to my wife and I at one of A2s millions of stoplights, and heard us cranking the very same album you're reviewing here, with the windows wide open. I agree with you, this record is more of the same, but that's what I was hoping for!

Lord Rutledge said...

Way to go, my man! Representing strong for Stooges country! Blast that shit loud!