Album Review: OFF!

OFF! is a great idea. The supergroup pulls Keith Morris of Black Flag/Circle Jerks, Dimitri Coats of Burning Brides, Stephen Shane McDonald of Redd Kross, and Mario Rubalcaba of Rocket From the Crypt/Hot Snakes into the same room for grand old time. OFF! is essentially a hardcore punk band, but the moniker takes away from their draw. There are bits of experimental rock, post-hardcore, and classic punk all mixed in here, and in 16 minutes, OFF!’s 16 track self-titled record will run away from you. But give it a couple listens and you’ll find a supergroup record that’s actually worth listening to and explores territory that each of these members maybe never explored before.

“Wiped Out” is the lead track on OFF! and it’s a great precursor for what’s more to come. The track is punishingly loud and Morris’s howl is wonderfully unnerving. His lyrics are just as dissatisfied and uprooted as ever, talking about overwhelming feelings of negativity about society and the future. The video (shown above) have lots of great wipeouts, too. From here, OFF! brings the pain, cranking through tracks minute by minute, each offering its own fresh burst of fiery anger.

Tracks on this record average to be less than a minute long, and many are even shorter than that. Because of that, the album blends together very quickly. The songs feel barely complete. Skin and bones (maybe just bones) is really all OFF! needs to fly, but you won’t find much more than that here. That’s not to say that certain tracks don’t stand out above others. “Wiped Out” and “Cracked” will appease classic punk fans with perfect balance of pissed-off and anarchist fun. “King Kong Brigade” touches on experimental rock and then brushes it off for one of the most primal tunes on the album, and the guitar licks on “Wrong” and “Jet Black Girls” go heavier and thicker than the rest.

In 2012, the music and media scene are so saturated that independent artists can really do whatever they want. No genre is dead anymore, and OFF! is here to remind us that punk is no exception. If anything, OFF! shows us that the next generation can gain something by embracing the punk mindset. The self-titled LP flows better than The First Four EPs did all in one listen, and the riffs are just as delicious. If you are into punk, or need to be reminded that you are still into punk, check out OFF!’s self-titled, out today on Vice Records. You seriously can’t be disappointed.

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