Wednesday, July 1, 2009

NOFX - Coaster

NOFX has been one of my favorite punk rock bands for almost as long as I have been listening to music. Their unique style of pop melodies mixed with grungy garage punk rock as well as their provocative lyrics and sense of humor has elevated this band to legendary status. Not to mention the fact that their frontman, Fat Mike, has his own label (Fat Wreck Chords) that is helping countless underground bands get exposure and has promoted DIY as an alternative to major labels. Although they will probably never top their pivotal album, “Punk in Drublic”, I believe that their entire catalogue is essential to anyone who really loves punk music.

This album is classically NOFX yet they always seem to be moving forward musically and lyrically. Fat Mike’s vocals seem to get better on every album and his diverse lyrics that deal with everything from humor and sex to family relationships and organized religion are quite thought provoking. What is truly amazing about this band is how each of their albums is very eclectic stylistically so they never run into the “every song sounds the same” problem. This album is a great example of this and each song sounds different AND deals with a different subject matter lyrically. The drumming by Erik Sandin is great and really keeps their fast and staccato punk rock style solid (in all their albums). The guitar work by their token Mexican El Jefe is outstanding and even Eric Melvin got more creative (and continues to do supporting vocals. As a band they have never sounded tighter and as usual pull off the fast and happy tone of punk rock in each song but the mood is distinct and matches the lyrical content.

Coaster opens with “We Called it America” and Fat Mike continues his liberal political commentary that he has become more passionate about over the span of their last few albums. It’s a great punk rock track and if you dig this song, you will probably like most of their music. The most emotional track on the album is “My Orphan Year”, which describes the year that Mike lost both of his parents; it is very serious and melodically delicious. The song ‘First Call” is an alcoholics anthem that is very funny and complements their other comedic song, “Creeping Out Sara”. This song is very poppy but very fun to listen to and jokes about meeting the band Tegan and Sarah and creeping them out with a conversation on drugs and sex. “Blasphemy” is a great anti-organized religion track that points out the ridiculousness of choosing faith over reason (although everyone is entitled to their own opinion). “Best God in Show” carries a similar theme but showcases their rendition of the reaggae/ska style. The whole album is great from front to back and closes with “One Million Coasters”, which nostalgically speaks of the end of old music mediums, notably the CD that has now become a mere coaster due to the domination of digital music.

I think this album perfectly reflects what punk music is in this day and age when many people think that it is dead. As long as NOFX keeps putting out amazing albums, it will certainly live on! It’s amazing that despite all the various trends in music, NOFX has always done their own thing and they do it better than most bands. I am certainly biased because I love this band but I am open to any criticisms anyone might have. Please comment!

Coaster by NOFX receives a 9/10 and is certified NASTY. It is definitely better than their last release and the different styles of each song make it a very enjoyable listen.

No comments:

Post a Comment