Fat Mike of NOFX once described his love of all those old punk bands of the late '70s and '80s because they were short, simple, poor quality recordings, and just nasty. That's what punk was. Short blasts of aggression to hype up drunk kids who were rebelling against their parents, society, and the world.
Some thirty odd years later, it's safe to say punk has become... Well, safe. It's clean, polished, and fit for consumption. And I figure this probably doesn't sit well with legendary frontman of legendary punk band The Circle Jerks, one Mr Keith Morris. So he calls up some buddies. People with the spirit of '78 in their veins. Dimitri Coats (Burning Brides), Steven McDonald (Redd Kross) and Mario Rubalcaba (Hot Snakes / Earthless / Rocket From The Crypt). Together, they bring back the core values of punk music. After a number of EPs over the last few years, the band have knuckled down to record their debut record. A short, fast, ugly affair that knocks off 16 tracks in under 17 minutes and displays all the characteristics of what punk was.
This record should probably be played on vinyl and not through the digital medium as it will be more at place for what it is. This is lo-fi, recorded on analog tape and is basic in sound. Guitars blast in short, sharp bursts. Keith's vocals are as venomous and as spiteful as they were back in the early days of The Circle Jerks. "Feelings Are Meant To Hurt" takes a swipe at stupid pop punk love songs and emo kids. "I Got News For You" stabs at the elitists in the scene. There are attacks on government and society in tracks like "Toxic Box", "Vaporised", and "Borrow And Bomb". These songs get to the point, make their point, and then move on to the next point.
Off! are either the last of their kind, or saviours to a scene that has gone soft. Judging by the surprise and excitement at their inclusion in the 2013 Big Day Out line up, they will surely serve as bringing the spirit of '78 back to punk rock music, and hopefully encourage angry men to vent their displeasure at a mediocre society that needs shaking up and getting back to what is real.
Review Score: 6.5/10