Album review

NOFX : The War On Errorism
Fat Wreck Chords

NOFX : The War On ErrorismIt seems like quite a long time since NOFX released a full-length album. Their last release was 45 Or 46 Songs That Weren't Good Enough To Go On Our Other Records, a compilation of unreleased and rare dittys on a double disc set. It was a decent album, and it didn't give the image that the band were doing it for a bit of cash before the new album came out, ahem, Linkin Park . . .
    The War On Errorism starts with The Separation Of Church And Skate, with a crisp bass line, a nice solo and a riff that sounds frighteningly like Motorhead’s Ace Of Spades. Fat Mike's whiny voice asks the question "When did punk rock become so safe?" This is a valid point. In a world of Good Charlottes, Blink 182s and Sum 41s it seems there are very few punk bands that abide by the old school rule of being loud and offensive with a bit of attitude - not using synthesisers or singing about cute girls all the time. It's not that these bands are grand - I admit that I for one love Blink 182 and Good Charlotte - but the rate at which the traditional punk sound is drying up and the bands are becoming more parent-friendly and less in your face is alarming.

The War On Errorism is a just above average album; the dense guitar riffs and super-fast standard punk beats are the same as they always have been, although there a couple of moments that stand out for being a bit different. The first is single Franco Un-American, an extremely radio-friendly track that has hooks that pull you in from the second you hear it.
    The second is Anarchy Camp, a ska song (that’s right kids, ska) featuring a moody saxophone contrasted with happy-go-lucky skankable upstrokes that beg to be danced to.
    She’s Nubs follows the fine tradition of a song about a beautiful girl, twisting it from the simple subject matter and instead singing about a woman with no arms and legs, and then questioning how she gets in and out of bath tubs and slips on banana peels. Bizarre.
    Mattersville is one of the strongest tracks. The idea of retiring to a town specially for punks is mildly humorous, and the roll of honour that is the lyrics is fantastic: "At the end of my cul-de-sac, Davey Havoc’s house is painted black." The xylophone that is featured in the verses actually sounds half-credible, at least a lot better than a synthesiser.

Although this is a decent album you can’t help but feel it’s just the last album regurgitated with a couple of surprise instruments. It has some very good reasons for buying it: The videos contained on the enhanced CD, an eight minute clip from Unprecedented (a film about how the 2000 US election was supposedly rigged) and some songs that you can really belt out of your CD player.
    Unfortunately it ’s not the best record NOFX have churned out in recent times. But even so, it will provide more than worthy competition to the other punk albums that will be released this year.

:: Graham Drummond

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