Since their emergence, OFF! have done nothing but defy expectation and blow up speakers. With their first proper full length, the band somehow managed to cram even more deviant rhythm and vitriol into what will probably go down as one of my favorite records of 2012.
Between Keith Morris’ pained, frantic vocals and Dmitri Coats’ destructive guitar, I can’t get enough of these songs. It’s pretty easy to pig out on a record where no song breaches the 2 minute mark and only one barely passes 1:30. That’s not to say that the rhythm section, featuring Steven McDonald on bass and Mario Rubalcaba on drums, are slacking. They’re so in sync that they navigate the complex roadmap of these songs with unbelievable ease.
This record eschews the dull hackery of bands aping the heyday of hardcore because that dude with a Skanker-man patch on his jacket couldn’t come close to playing some of these parts. I guarantee that whatever tough-guy posturing that street punk band passes off for masculinity can’t possibly match the gritty, observational truth that Keith Morris injects into his lyrics. Tracks full of technical moments, riffs as heavy as gravity on Jupiter and blissfully noisy freak-outs leap from one to the next, making for a flurried listening experience where I find that sweet spot in aggressive music that just makes my brain explode.
Even those people who claim to be “schooled” in the art of punk rock, who like to create categories for the genre so they have a nice, neat little idea of what is and isn’t “punk”, might find themselves having a hard time defining the style that OFF! has developed. It’s absolutely a blast from the past, in that these are seasoned and venerable musicians who have spent a long time honing their craft. To me, these four are their own, best influences and, through the sheer volatility and brilliance of their existence, just might convince some of these kids that what they’re listening to just isn’t cutting it.
You can still get OFF! Self Titled from Vice Records from the link below and check out related articles for videos released from OFF!