Any punk fan knows who Keith Morris is. Whether you know him as the first singer of Black Flag or as the driving force behind The Circle Jerks, Morris has been a force in the punk world for a while now. When I found out a few years back that Morris formed another band I was excited. I have always been a fan The Circle Jerks and, to be quite honest, I preferred him as the singer for Black Flag over Rollins, but I seem to be in the minority on that one.
In 2012 we saw the first release from Morris’s band Off!, whose album, also titled “Off!”, was a pure throwback to old school hardcore punk. It was exactly what I wanted from a band led by The Morris and when it was first released I didn’t stop listening to it. Clocking in at only 15 minutes, “Off!” made my week when it was released and I was looking forward the next release.
Two years have gone by since “Off!” was released and the time has come for the new album. Within the first song of the new release, “Wasted Years,” you can tell the band hasn’t let up any steam. The album is still full of fast drumming, distorted beyond belief guitars, and the recognizable singing and scream of Morris. “Wasted Years” is a real treat that should not be missed by any hardcore punk fan. The album itself only clocks in at 23 minutes, but its 23 minutes of pure adrenaline. No song is a skipper and each of them are politically charged, as you would expect from Morris.
One of the best aspects of both of Off!’s albums is the sound. It has a quality I always loved about old school punk music, that being the raw sound that you tend to not get with a lot of punk releases now-a-days. It sounds like it was recorded in a garage somewhere, and I am ok with that. Punk music was never about the musicianship of the players (though some are actually really good and don’t their just deserves), but the message it was trying to convey. Punk is about being angry and pissed, usually at the government or society, and “Off!” get that right.
In the end I highly recommend this album to anyone who wants a good “old school” punk listen. To say this is a great album is an understatement. Morris and crew have created something that many will consider a shining point of modern punk. Will it ever be considered as good as something like “Fresh Fruit for Rotten Vegetables”? Who knows, but for now it’s my number 1 for punk releases this year, that’s for sure.
Get it on iTunes: Wasted Years – OFF!