Thursday, 13 September 2012

REVIEW: NOFX - Self Entitled - LISTEN

29 years into their career, Los Angeles punks NOFX return with their 12th full length album 'Self Entitled'. But don't expect a bubbling cauldron of new ideas, because there's no sign of Fat Mike and co wanting to change direction just yet. Indeed it is more of the same, this time pretty much a pure punk NOFX album, with none of the ska flavours of some of their previous work. 

'72 Hookers' demonstrates that addressing political issues doesn't necessarily have to come across as some sort of serious lecture, and NOFX know how to inject humour and fun into it. In this case they suggest that the people who start wars wouldn't feel the need to do it if they had more sex, and the tune itself is a corker. Two album highlights follow it in the shape of the religion-baiting 'I Believe In Goddess' and the no-nonsense bite of 'Ronnie And Mags', documenting Thatcher and Reagan's warmongering, before the rather average 'She Didn't Lose Her Baby' tells the story of a drug addict whose child is taken away from her. 

'Secret Society' is pretty good but hardly original, sounding a lot like Bad Religion, but with a chord progression swiped directly from Pennywise's ''Fuck Authority', while 'Cell Out' and 'My Sycophant Other' are as good as any NOFX songs you'll hear. Less great but doing a good job of keeping up the breakneck pace are tracks like 'I, Fatty', 'This Machine Is Four' and 'Down With The Ship', where Mike wonders what he could have done to save his marriage. It's one of a few moments here where we see a more personal and heartfelt side to this group, but the humour is still there, and so is the relentless energy. 

The pace only really slows for 'One Jealous Again', heartbreak done the Fat Mike way. Nine years ago 'We Got Two Jealous Agains' was about him meeting a girl and knowing she was the one when he saw her record collection, the couple ending up with two copies of Black Flag's 'Jealous Again' when they moved in together. So following Fat Mike's recent divorce, he rewrites the song as a fitting ending for that chapter of his life. It should have perhaps been the album's closing track, but instead it concludes with 'Xmas Has Been X'd', a fun yuletide-themed number that's best saved for listening to when that particular time of year comes around. 

In terms of modern day punk albums it's a good effort, and a few tracks display NOFX at their very best. Overall it's not quite up their with 1994's 'Punk In Drublic' or the excellent 'So Long And Thanks For All The Shoes', but these guys are still in a league of their own when it comes to modern American punk, and 'Self Entitled' is certainly a better record than their two previous efforts. They've grown up a little bit, but this is pretty much business as usual. 7

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