NOFX have been no strangers to controversy over the years, but still, almost 40 years since their their humble beginnings in 1980s Los Angeles, the punk scene has never really been without them.
Despite the band’s ups and downs, including a five-year wait since their last studio album, NOFX are determined to prove that they’re still pumping life into the veins of punk rather than just being a passive part of the furniture with their latest release, ‘Single Album’.
While this might be hard for some to believe, there are a few genuine surprises on ‘Single Album’, which is nothing to be sniffed at for a band who’ve been in the game for decades. Opener ‘The Big Drag’ is a more restrained, tentative, edited version of NOFX that many won’t be expecting; it holds back on the zero-to-one-hundred ferocity that the band usually display. The band pepper this more subtle (well, as subtle as NOFX get) take throughout, with the almost vulnerable ‘Birmingham’ and mature slow burner ‘Doors And Fours’ making welcome appearances.
However, for the most part, this new NOFX album gives you just about everything you’d expect from them. The crude, brash tone of ‘I Love You More Than I Hate Me’ and the ‘Punk In Drublic’ callback ‘Linewleum’ that harkens back to 90s skate-punk are thoroughly NOFX. Their controversial, confrontational lyrics have you feeling startled, possibly outraged one minute, and nodding along in agreement the next, and, while some are all for the shock value of punk rock, others will struggle to find a place for this kind of insensitivity in today’s world.
Like so many bands who’ve been knocking around for this long, those who love NOFX will probably love this album and those who don’t, won’t. For all their much appreciated efforts to delve into topics like addiction, gun control, and gender, NOFX remain very much in their remit of lewd, witty, unapologetic punk rock, which will please some and frustrate others. But, hey, you can’t win them all.