OFF! – ‘Wasted Years’
(Out Now on Vice)
FROM LEGENDARY FRONTMAN KEITH MORRIS comes the spring release Wasted Years: a testament that older guys can out-rock youth. Once the vicious singer of iconic punk bands Black Flag and The Circle Jerks, his latest crew Off! challenges modern day recording processes this time by presenting a live-to-tape album. The band plugged in and hit the record button, igniting a personal concert experience and bringing the mosh to wherever they will be heard.
‘Void You Out’ is the band’s most prolific attempt at keeping their sound “relevant.” The tune strikes like a Modern Life is War or American Nightmare B-side: clearly two bands influenced by Morris’ early days. ‘Red White and Black’ is Punk-Rock gold and will have listeners either destroying everything in sight, or leaping into the crowd for a surf. ‘Legion of Evil’ grooves like a Misfit’s cut while the L.A. skate anthem ‘No Easy Escape’ reflects on The Circle Jerks’ glory days. Both tracks embrace Morris’ often-imitated technique of shouting spoken verses against singing melodic choruses. The band moves into a British Buzzcocks persona with ‘Over Our Heads,’ while still possessing the violent guitar progressions of California hardcore. ‘It Didn’t Matter to Me’ is a darker tune of drug dealers and withdrawals, with a Rolling Stone’s chorus that melts hypnotically with a Danzig ‘Twist of Cain’ riff. ‘Death Trip on the Party Train’ propels raging hard, while the duo of ‘Time’s Not on Your Side’ and ‘Meet Your God’ compact the manifestation of being at a live punk show with massive pile-ons and stage dives.
Wasted Years is a refreshing “back to basics” album that masterfully captures the nature of experiencing live music. Morris and the band prove that the craft of performing live overpowers sophisticated studio recordings. Nothing screams Punk-Rock more than that. (9)