As you will no doubt be aware by now, the most hyped and pre-announced record of the year hits the record store shelves today, 8th May. Yep, it’s the eponymous LP by California’s Off!, fronted by hardcore legend Keith Morris. Running at a total of 16 minutes, this exercise is brutal brevity demands, I think, a similarly curt review.
Ok. You’ve probably heard most if not all the tracks by now. They are uniformly short, sharp and direct, and the lazy comparison is to early Black Flag, with whom Morris was formerly on vocal duties. And yes, it really does sound incredibly like early Black Flag – right down to guitarist Dimitri Coats’ unique and far more controlled take on Gregg Ginn’s crazed fingerwork. If you’ve got ‘The First 4 EPs’, then you’ll know what to expect.
But comparisons aside, that’s all in the past now. This is after all 2012, not 1978. So, does it stand up as a relevant album of songs for the modern day? Well, yes. Music has gone full circle again. Sugary, insincere pop music rules the airwaves now as then. This basic, brutal blast, embroidered with Morris’ blue-collar, regular American guy take on world events, is a breath of fresh air, and the sincerity in the album’s songs is real enough. This is just what we need.
“There’s a lot of soul in this,” he concludes. “We’re not fucking around.” Dimitri Coats
That’s all that really needs to be said.