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Album Review: OFF! - 'Off!'

23 September 2012 | 9:22 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Punk veterans still showing us how it's done.

Is the term ‘supergroup’ an unfair phrase that immediately draws grand (and often misleading) connotations? The prefix ‘super’ almost denotes that the music is automatically more evolved, more complex and simply just better. Why this appears a good thing, it can create unrealistic expectations.

However, let’s just cast these queries aside and view Los Angeles punk outfit OFF! in a deserved context – a humble and respectable band delivering their sophomore album.

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It’s punk, so the general equation is simple – raw, intense and driven. This self-titled release arguably marks the first occasion where OFF! feel (and sound) entirely formed. The music has been good in the past, but this doesn’t feel like Black Flag 2.0 or Burning Brides II, this is just simply OFF!.

With not one song clocking in at over two minutes, the pace is fast and the tone sustained. ‘Wiped Out’ is a suitable greeting. It’s menacing but doesn’t feel intimidating. The listeners drag themselves in and accept the overall direction.

The general impression is that this studio release is an old-school album with a contemporary face. For the ardent punk fans the style is consistent. For the neutral, the full-length does feel slightly repetitive. There’s not much room to deviate here, you either like it or you don’t.

Borrow and Bomb’ and ‘Toxic Box’ keep the momentum. ‘Feelings Are Meant to be Hurt’ is another standout. Despite each song concluding in quick fashion, there is a flow and pace to the overall musical structure.

Within the punk genre, this feels like one of the truly genuine bands/releases floating around at the moment. It’s a little dry and played out at times, but overall, studio album number two is decisive and accurate.

This self-titled release is a fitting representation of a band in both a musical and stylistic context. It’s over quickly, but presents an intensity that makes the album sustainable. OFF!, as musicians are collective veterans. So the approach is created out of confidence and experience. It’s a punk record; you know the drill.

1. Wiped Out

2. I Got News For You

3. Elimination

4. Cracked

5. Wrong

6. Borrow And Bomb

7. Toxic Box

8. Man From Nowhere

9. Jet Black Girls

10. King Kong Brigade

11. Harbor Freeway Blues

12. Feelings Are Meant To Be Hurt

13. Vaporized

14. 503

15. Zero For Conduct

16. I Need One (I Want One)