What’s your name?
Fuck you! That’s my name.
These words will forever mark the beginning of one of the best ‘fat wreck’ punk albums ever. Making Friends has it all, and it knows it. The songs are hard to differentiate, and the result seems like a chaotic mess. But there is method to the madness... Oh yes. Following this classic introduction, similar in spirit to the intro to Smash, if not slightly less subtle (and much more punk), come a series of punk gems. Leading up to ‘On the Outside’ in spot number four. This track is amazing, truly. It was the reason I bought the album. At the time, it was original to have a female singer do a duet on a NUFAN album. Sure, it’s been done to death now, but it was a great novelty at the time. It holds the line well and breaks up the album. The songs afterward tend to blend into on another, making the second half of the CD less coherent, which can be a good thing.
It’s a real shame what’s happened to NUFAN since this album. It’s been downhill all the way. The descent into total pop-punk blandness happened after Making Friends was released. Although a few of the tracks here are a bit… Commercial, it’s gems like ‘Best Regards’ which raise this release above the usual standard. The lyrics are quite good. Nothing like as good as bands like Propagandhi, you get the feeling the lyrics for a lot of tracks were written to fit the music, which is fine, just don’t expect too much. On the other hand, tracks like ‘On The Outside’, ‘A Postcard Would Be Nice’ and ‘Invincible’ have great lyrics which actually do have a message. As much as I bag NUFANS later stuff, I actually think the lyrics on ‘More Betterness’ are better than those on ‘Making Friends’. Still, the music on this is much better. It’s less produced and has a more raw, angry feel.
My favourite track on this CD is ‘Fields of Athenry’, which is not a NUFAN song at all. The hidden track is also great. It’s on their live in a dive CD too. Apparently it’s called ‘Gene and Paul, I Hate You Most Of All…. Ace, You’re The Ace… And Peter… You’re The Cat.’ Catchy. Pity I can’t figure out what the lyrics for that one are. I wish they’d been included on the lyrics sheet. Damn!
Well, what else is there to say about it? It’s short. Very short. But short=punk so I’m okay with it. The cover art is fucking ace. Very sick, in an extremely funny way. I never liked boy-scouts anyway.
All in all, you get the feel from this album that NUFAN actually wanted to record it. This is the opposite of the feel I get from Hard Rock Bottom and More Betterness, which is that they recorded them because they had to.
Finally, it’s the last time you’ll get to hear Chris Shiflett play the electric gui-tar before totally selling out and joining the Foo Fighters.
If I’d been writing this review three years ago it would have scored a 9.5, but as my taste is more refined now, I think I have to be more realistic and give it an 8.