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OFF! – OFF! (Review)

Off!

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 1 out of 5

LA quartet OFF! have delivered an album that is the musical equivalent of marmite! You’ll either love it or hate it.

Comprised of 16 high intensity tracks in as many minutes, the album demonstrates the band’s ability to ratchet up their visceral sonic maelstrom, thereby delivering what they refer to as a “dark party” soundtrack of unleashed exasperation and bitterness executed with a rigorous precision.

Hence, for the entire 16 minutes or so that the album lasts, there’s barely chance to catch your breath with one angry punk rocker spewing forth from the speakers after another.

And it’s genuinely volatile… the lyrics as angry as the riffs, while the drums pounding away at a relentlessly fast pace. As such, it takes punk to its extremes and there is nothing on the LP that comes close to being remotely radio friendly in the way that, say, early Beastie Boys’ party anthems were.

Sadly, this is OFF!’s loss. The Guardian quite rightly has stated that listening to the album (and indeed the band live) is like being ‘repeatedly slapped’, while Pitchfork have also described it as a “bare knuckled punch in the face”.

Both descriptions are apt… and if you like the idea of being assaulted by music, then maybe this is for you. For me, the album was just too angry… the rage coming at the expense of anything remotely enjoyable.

I could try and pick out certain tracks but they all blend into one, with names like Feelings Are Meant To Be Hurt, Borrow And Bomb and Vaporized underlining the overall tone.

In reference to my earlier nod to musical marmite, I have to say – sadly – that I fell on the side of hate. I just couldn’t find anything here to get behind or champion in any way, unless you really, really fancy creating your own headache.

Track listing:

  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)