OFF! :: Wasted Years

OFFKeith Morris is still pissed off. At least he can still sound pissed off. I mean, what do you expect from the guy that’s pretty much the elder statesman of classic California punk? If you’ve been following Morris and his semi punk superstar group you know what the score is. OFF! play old school punk with no frills. Just amps cranked to full capacity, breakneck drums(by the always amazing Mario Rubalcaba), and the always penetrating vocals of Keith Morris. Their self-titled debut from 2012 was a road map to middle-aged angst and demon exorcising if I’ve ever heard it. On Wasted Years the sound hasn’t changed a bit. The mission statement remains the same: DESTROY!

There’s so many variations of punk rock anymore that I start to get tired and want to nap just thinking about it. For me, the early 80s were the prime moment for punk. Southern California gave birth to Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, Circle Jerks, Suicidal Tendencies, Minutemen, The Germs, and Angry Samoans. As soon as bands started to try and make punk pretty and poppy I get all curmudgeonly and want to excuse myself from the table. OFF! remind me why punk mattered at one point. Keith Morris sounds like a man with a purpose behind the mic. I hear a song like “I Won’t Be A Casualty” and it makes me feel like a 13 year old listening to Circle Jerks riding around in my older brother’s tiny Nissan pick-up. “I won’t be a casualty! I won’t be a casualty!” Neither will I Keith. Neither will I. “Void You Out” is a punishing blast of power chords and Morris screaming “Blue versus grey/red and the blue/Barbed wire fence/Guns pointed at you”. Could be a description of some Ukrainian struggle or an Occupy Wall Street protest gone bad. The line is blurred too much to tell for sure.

“Red White and Black”, “Legion of Evil”, “No Easy Escape”, and especially the extra snarly “Death Trip On The Party Train” are all friendly reminders that there’s still some guys keeping the punk dream alive and well and are willing to bloody a face or two to get their point across. We need more guys like Morris, Dimitri Coats, Steven Shane McDonald, and Mario Rubalcaba blowing our eardrums and reminding us all’s not well in the world.

7.5 out of 10

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