Review : Off! - Off!
Chicago TribuneOn its second, self-titled album (Vice), Off! doesn’t tolerate long-windedness of any kind, musical or otherwise. Solos? There is exactly one (which lasts nine seconds) among the quartet’s 16 songs; the album blurs past in less than 16 minutes and then demands to be played again. It’s all about riff and rant, the equivalent of a punch-out in an alley. The street characters in these songs grapple with gangs, homelessness, poverty, conformity. They seek empty solitude in drugs and booze.
“You pushed me inna corner/What did you expect?” singer Keith Morris declares. Morris has been rabble-rousing since he fronted first-generation Los Angeles hardcore bands such as Black Flag and the Circle Jerks decades ago. He’s joined by Steven McDonald (Red Kross), Mario Rubalcaba (Rocket from the Crypt) and Dimitri Coats (Burning Brides) in a quartet that plays each song as if it were a grenade: pull the pin and fling it as far as it’ll go before it blows up in your face....full text
Consequence of soundOften, the industry tends to assume any album by long-established musicians relates to their age, and this is particularly true in a genre umbrella as effusively tied to youth as punk. The assumption, perhaps, is that you can only mosh for so long before you break a hip; another possibility is that one either grows out of being jaded or gets too angry to convey it properly. On “Cracked”, Morris actively addresses these assumptions, talking about the “hardcore karaoke retirement home” and “being played for a chump.” There’s certainly anger directed in a few different directions on this effort, but this insulted feeling is the majority of what’s filling the rage tank.
This isn’t the type of album to redefine a genre, to challenge listeners’ preconceptions. Instead, OFF! is the godfather of hardcore punk churning out another stellar example of the genre at its peak, an album that kicks ass musically, confronts the listener lyrically, and then kicks ass again. Fans of any of the members’ other bands (or anyone who’s ever considered themselves a punk) will love this album and will surely be ready to mosh their faces off at live venues across the country....full text
What cultureOFF! are one of those bands that made me shake all over and feel a bit dizzy etc. And why wouldn’t they? Made up of members of Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Rocket From The Krypt and Red Kross, the band look awesome on paper and gratefully, they’ve got a sound to match. The band first formed in 2009 and released their debut album, First Four EPs, in late 2010. The debut was everything you’d expect – fast, fuming, a mix of punk/hardcore, short and snappy riffs, catchy lyrics. A lot of people rated the album, it gained good reviews from the likes of the LA Times, Pitchfork, Allmusic and PunkNews and it was deserved praise. Some supergroups get their arses kissed because of what they’ve done before and people rate the group on the band’s original projects – but OFF! deserved every good word that was typed their way and the second album couldn’t come sooner enough for a lot of people. But, the band have finally released it. And they haven’t contracted second-album-syndrome at all.
You’ll find yourself sat on your bed wondering what the hell just happened, so you’ll start to play the album again just for the thrill of the ride. A fantastically executed maelstrom of noise that’ll have you begging for more....full text
PitchforkEven with the short runtime, First Four EPs really takes it out of you; each EP takes you through highs and lows in quick succession, so hearing all four straight through is like being put through a tenderizer. For all their ripchord intensity, I wish they'd made just a little more room for McDonald, whose work with Redd Kross proved him more adept at sneaking intricate bass lines under hardcore rhythms than he's allowed here. But these are, after all, the first four EPs, which assumes there's more to come. You could argue that there's a nasty conservative streak running through these four EPs, that Morris already made better versions of this record with his previous bands. But OFF! feels less like a regression than a regrouping, a shoring up of old strengths with the hopes of recapturing an old feeling. And that much they nail....full text
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