When interviewed for the ‘American Hardcore’ documentary; scene doyen Keith Morris politely yet pithily derided the consummate rock stars of the era; this was not the music of his generation, it was overplayed and vomit-inducing hokum.
Morris maintained that the music that he was performing and the lyrics that he was writing had little to do with holding hands, smiling, and skipping into the sunset. An assertion cemented by his snotty, frantic snarl leading the line on two of hardcore punk's key releases: Black Flag’s ‘Nervous Breakdown EP’, and the Circle Jerks, ‘Group Sex’. You may have heard of them.
There is no need to express misgivings at the 21st century reboot of Keith Morris or the motives of OFF!. This is far from an exercise in punk rock revisionism; this is not a modern punk band expressing their enmity towards their peers and parents. There is no need to channel the spirit of 80s hardcore punk when you are the spirit of 80s hardcore punk.
The aural equivalent of watching the documentaries ‘American Hardcore’ and ‘Punk: Attitude’ whilst reading Michael Azzerads’ seminal underground music compendium, ‘Our Band Could Be Your Life’; OFF! have managed to consolidate all that is exciting about hardcore punk. In sixteen minutes.
It's as if Keith Morris woke up one morning in a foul mood; exhausted and disorientated from a week of untapped nervous energy and insomnia, realisation dawning that there was still work to be done. It was time to reaffirm the reputation of the scene which he had been instrumental in creating, which has been sullied in part thanks to the angular-haired upstarts who continue to trigger their drums and karate kick their way through generic breakdowns.
Featuring members of Burning Brides, Hot Snakes and Redd Kross, OFF! have cut a searingly hot slab of vinyl, with Keith Morris sounding more fresh and relevant than he has done in years. Based on this evidence, hardcore punk can only continue to benefit from the restless energy and confrontational stance of one of its most unique and creative voices.
‘Borrow and Bomb’ is the soundtrack to being chased down the street by a harem of HB’s with angel dust on their mind and death on their breath. By the opening bars of ‘Toxic Box’ it’s too late; my ass has been well and truly kicked. ‘Cracked’ lurches into life as I drive my car towards my boss in the car park. ‘Wrong’ is the ensuing getaway, my speeding Peugeot doused in blue flashing lights, sirens wailing and punk rock raging. I scream the lyrics of ‘Wiped Out’ out of my car window, cranking the volume up to drown out the screams of the elderly woman trapped underneath my car. ‘King Kong Brigade’ is barely 90 seconds long, but that’s all the time it takes for me to strip off, climb on top of my roof and shake my fists at pedestrians.
It’s the densest batch of jams I’ve ever heard on one record since ‘The First Four Years’ album by Black Flag; which incidentally was the densest batch of jams Henry Rollins had ever heard on one record since the ‘Fun House’ album by The Stooges. Sharp, biting commentary? Aggression? Awesome artwork? This is the most direct line to what the fuck it is all about. Want to get off? Get OFF!
Posted: Fri 15 June 2012 Total Views: 497Views Today: 0