Release Date: May 8, 2012
Record label: Vice
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Hardcore Punk, Punk Revival
"I wanna club you like a baby seal!" hollers 56-year-old Keith Morris, formerly of Black Flag and the Circle Jerks, in "King Kong Brigade," the climax of this hot new hardcore outfit's full-length debut. Morris, one of L.A.'s crustiest punks, and his similarly ripe crew manage a neat trick, sounding like hopped-up young men as they bash out 16 buzz-saw-and-brimstone tracks in as many minutes. On "I Got News for You," Morris even attacks a "king of a scene," like he just stumbled off the bus.
After storming out of the gates with 2010's First Four EPs, OFF! continue to make their intentions clear with a self-titled album that picks up right where their last collection left off. Delivering 16 tracks in just under 16 minutes, the album is a blast of the kind of raw hardcore that seemed like it was all but lost from the world, serving as an important reminder that, as long as you have plenty of volume, attitude, and anger in excess, everything else will fall into place. Using these three elements to their fullest, the album is a sonic smash and grab that bursts through the front door, wrecks up the place, and gets out long before the dust settles and you realize your television is missing.
OFF!'s 2010 explosion into being was a cathartic act of frustration, a joining of musical talents slammed together by the acrimonious departure of vocalist/perpetual firebreather Keith Morris from yet another go at reviving the once-indispensable Circle Jerks. The music that poured out of this schism, compiled conveniently in the aptly titled First Four EPs, worked due to its visceral power: hardcore punk jams never reaching over two minutes, number of chords kept to a minimum, a muscular rhythm section, all topped with the in-the-red (yet still coherent) sneers and screams of Morris. The wrecking crew's first proper "full length," the 16 track, 16 minute OFF! is in many ways the exact same album as its compilation predecessor.
It seems unfair to expect variance from the 16 minutes of OFF!’s first LP. But former Black Flagger Keith Morris pushes his L.A. hardcore all-stars through tempos that turn on a hairpin and beats his exclamations into something like melody all over OFF! (the caps, presumably, are for further emphasis). There are precisely two guitar solos—one at the beginning, one at the end—and the whole shebang ends with a cackle, a feedback squeal and a scream.
With its instantly familiar Raymond Pettibon artwork, OFF!’s caustic, brain-blasting debut chucks you back to the Black Flag-helmed glory days of West Coast punk before you’re slammed against the wall by its grubby thrashing. It’s fitting, as this LA four-piece is a hardcore hall of fame, with members of Circle Jerks, Rocket From The Crypt, Burning Brides and Redd Kross in its ranks. Buckled together by 16 muscular but brief tracks – most loiter around the one-minute mark and many are significantly shorter – it’s a bolshie, unapologetic barrage of electroshock rock’n’roll that’s as snarlingly pissed off as it is inanely entertaining.
When OFF! collected their first handful of 7” singles onto 2010’s The Four EPs, they perhaps unknowingly proved that hardcore’s ideals were timeless and regenerative—at least as much as those of SoCal pop or Laurel Canyon folk. Led by former Circle Jerk frontman Keith Morris, he of the immense dreadlock, the band of L.A. punk vets pared punk down to its very basics: rambunctious double-time guitar riffs, angrily accusatory lyrics and half-shouted (two-thirds-shouted?) vocals.
What do Joanna Newsom’s “Only Skin”, Melvins’ “Anti-Vermin Seed”, and Mogwai’s “Mogwai Fear Satan” have in common? These three songs are each longer than the entirety of LA-based, hardcore punk supergroup OFF!‘s debut LP; the 16 songs on OFF! clock in at a sweltering 15:51, the most expansive of the tracks barely cracking the minute and a half mark. Led by founding Black Flag and Circle Jerks vocalist Keith Morris, the four-piece use their time wisely, filling this disc with a manic, volatile insistence that both hardcore and these aging punks in particular are just as tough as they ever were. That furor doesn’t let up, the riffs keep on coming, and the album stands up as a standard for the genre.
So what's Keith Morris angry about this time? In OFF!-- the 56-year-old Black Flag/Circle Jerks founder's latest soapbox-- he's finally found the three guys every bit as pissed off as he is. And the world's taken notice. It's been at least a year since Anthony "Scatman" Kiedis has left the house without conspicuously donning his cred-grabbing OFF! cap, and even nerds like us couldn't deny the blunt-force fury of OFF!'s masterful First Four EPs.
It’s hard to know what to do with OFF! even though Keith Morris’s latest foray into hardcore pretty much lays its intentions bare. There isn’t an ironic note in the band’s entire catalog – from the material that comprised The First Four EPs to the band’s new eponymous full-length. Instead what we get is a lot of pissed-off honesty, a lot of vitriol shot out in all directions, in short, quick bursts.
16 songs, 16 minutes, all of which as harsh and direct as the name OFF! suggests. OFF! is the eponymous “full-length” of an out-of-time supergroup, fronted by Keith Morris of Black Flag/Circle Jerks fame (along with Dimitri Coats of Burning Brides, Steven Shane McDonald of Redd Kross, and Mario Rubalcaba of Hot Snakes). With this in mind, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to hear hardcore punk that could have been released 30 years ago, especially suggest that OFF! is where he would have taken Black Flag.
OFF!OFF![Vice Records; 2012]By Brendan Frank; May 2, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGOFF! seem to be quite interested in the fervor that can be afforded to their particular style of punk. Their first record wasn’t even twenty minutes long, yet it captured a fierceness that belied the age of the band’s members and the era that they were playing in. They sounded like punk with a timestamp that was finally seeing the light of day over three decades later.
With a CV that includes Black Flag, Circle Jerks and Red Kross, it would take a bold (and rather uncharitable) man to dismiss Off! as the result of the mid-life crises of some ageing punks. Since their formation in 2009, a flurry of exhilarating EPs have cemented their position as arguably the best "heritage hardcore" band around. However, this first (and apparently final) album finds the old guard asleep at the switch.
Having undoubtedly witnessed many of his original peers from California's hardcore punk scene ride ungracefully into their 50s purely on the coattails of nostalgia and former glory, it's genuinely refreshing to see Keith Morris immerse himself within a project that sees him sounding just as youthfully petulant, if not more so, than he was on his most lauded work with Black Flag and the Circle Jerks over 30 years ago. By teaming up with the likes of Dimitri Coats and Mario Rubalcaba (of Burning Brides and Rocket From The Crypt/Hot Snakes fame, respectively), Morris has meticulously put together the perfect vehicle from which to spew forth his ever-flowing, all-encompassing stream of venomous sewage, and the stream has become evermore potent on the group's new self-titled record. In all honesty, it's somewhat difficult to wax lyrical about OFF!, but that's no bad thing.
Following 2010's First Four EPs, OFF! is the self-titled album by a group with the skill to say twice as much in half the time. It's a release that spends its first few tracks building up the angst before Keith Morris all but explodes on "Borrow and Bomb," and one that runs through a number of references to punk's supposed bygone era while hinting that the genre's heyday might still be coming. Most impressively, it does so in less than 16 minutes.
If you haven’t heard the hype or seen the hats, OFF! is the L.A. hardcore revivalist project headed by ex-Circle Jerks/Black Flag frontman Keith Morris, dreadlocked harbinger of teen rage. The power trio that Morris has assembled behind him consists of vetted rockers from Hot Snakes, Redd Kross and Burning Brides, which technically makes OFF! a “supergroup,” but there’s none of the bloat associated with such ensembles on the band’s first eponymous full-length.
OFF! “Off!” (Vice) “Off!,” the first full-length album by the Los Angeles band of the same name, contains some clues that it was recorded in the recent past and not the late 1970s. The third word of Keith Morris’s lyrics in “Wiped Out” is “disconnect” in noun form, which you probably wouldn’t have heard 30 years ago outside of government or the telecommunications industry. And definitely not from the guy Mr.
Relentless of pace, OFF! hail an era where thrash metal was yet to be invented. Noel Gardner 2012 Since emerging just over two years ago, OFF!, a phlegmatic quartet from Los Angeles, have routinely been described as a "hardcore supergroup". Aside from the fact that no purported supergroup ever wished to be labeled as such, it isn’t strictly accurate regarding its members’ CVs.
Keith Morris' ranting vocals sound more berserk on the first full-length offering from OFF! than they did on punk brand Black Flag's essential 1978 EP Nervous Breakdown. He was 23 then, and now, at 57, his sharp, minutelong flip-outs have only increased in potency. "I want to club you like a baby seal, staple your scalp to my steering wheel," he barks in "King Kong Brigade." Led by Burning Brides frontman Dimitri Coats' urgent jigsaw guitar phrasing and Redd Kross sibling Steve McDonald's bass, OFF! boasts tight, violent execution, where every chord, every drum blast, every scream ricochets essential.