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Off With Their Heads - From The Bottom (Cover Artwork)

Off With Their Heads

Off With Their Heads: From The BottomFrom The Bottom (2008)
No Idea Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: BryneBryne
(others by this writer | submit your own)

"How are you going to make your way in this world when you weren't cut out for working?"-Warren Zevon That lyric from Zevon's song "The French Inhaler" is printed twice on the packaging of this record, once inside the booklet and again on the record itself. It's fitting for a band like Off With T.
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"How are you going to make your way in this world when you weren't cut out for working?"-Warren Zevon

That lyric from Zevon's song "The French Inhaler" is printed twice on the packaging of this record, once inside the booklet and again on the record itself. It's fitting for a band like Off With Their Heads, with a lyricist who often sings about living in a world that isn't always kind to those on the low end of the bracket, and some of the quirks that come with that.

If we're not counting the singles/rarities/whatever collection All Things Move Toward Their End, From The Bottom is the first true full-length from OWTH and it's a strong and focused collection of gruff, melodic, Midwestern punk that one would come to expect from this band. Much of OWTH's sound is reliant on catchy melodies, huge choruses (though I use the term loosely) that were seemingly written specifically for a bunch of beer-and-sweat-soaked, bearded dudes to scream along to, and Ryan Young's gravelly vocals. It's pretty incredible how a band this gruff can lay down songs with guitar parts and vocal harmonies that stick in one's head for days, a fact made more amazing by how seamlessly these parts fit into the entire scope of a song. The lead guitar parts in both "Wrong" and "Until The Day...", as well as the bounciness of "1612 Havenhurst" and "For The Four" are Pop-Punk 101 for example, but there's nothing here that sounds contrived, fake or thank god, mainstream.

There are some unique moments on From The Bottom that find the band branching out to the nether regions of their sound. "Go On Git Now" is a mid-tempo tune built around a minimal refrain that features clean singing over a guitar part that twinkles without sounding too crisp. The crunch behind "Fuck This, I'm Out" is almost Weezer-esque (when they were good) and the drum-heavy intro of closer "I Hope You Know" does a nice job of building anticipation for when the song really kicks into gear, and the payoff once it does is satisfying.

Young's lyrical path of self-loathing and hopelessness continues here, such as in "I Am You" (originally found on the band's split with Practice, re-recorded here) where Young sings, 'I'll tell you why I hate my fucking life and I'll tell you why I can't seem to get it right / I'll tell you why I entertain the thought of dying all the time." and "1612 Havenhurst" (originally found on the band's split with Blotto, also re-recorded here) showcases similar feelings: "Just when I think it might not be so bad, it always kicks back and tells me where I stand." And the main line in "Until The Day..." that's sure to elicit many sloppy sing-alongs in the future is "Until the day I die I fucking swear I'm gonna make your life as miserable as mine."

However, much of the second half of From The Bottom show Young's less sardonic, more apologetic and regretful side. In "Self Check Out" he sings "It's killing me, because I think you're there for me / When I realize you're not, it's back to despair," and the lyrics in "Ten Years Trouble" Young portrays himself as being particularly vulnerable: "Please don't slam the door. I never meant to hurt you / I've gotten in a lot of trouble in the last ten years / I'm always in pain and almost always in tears."

One of this biggest gripes about this record I've read from fans is how 'clean' it sounds. And while From The Bottom undoubtedly has a far superior-sounding recording compared to anything else in the band's catalogue, I wouldn't necessarily refer to it as clean or slick.

If OWTH aren't cut out for working, I can't say it's a bad thing when the by-product of that is something as awesome as this record. Highly recommended.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
withoutbellson (July 15, 2010)

every single fuckign song is good on this album. "i hope you know" kind of reminds me of some type of pogues or strummer type thing. get it on vinyl.

johnnyawesome (February 9, 2010)

thoroughly awesome album. saw them opening for Against Me! and now I love them.

lostandclowned (May 20, 2009)

I thought there would be more comments on this.

SouthernLovin (February 4, 2009)

Best record of '08 friends.

PtvnSux94 (December 3, 2008)

Great record

MN_punkmaster-skaman (September 9, 2008)

Solid punk record

selfcheckout (August 20, 2008)

Best record so far this year.

SilentStorms (August 19, 2008)

And apparently I'm the only one who thinks this sucks. Score's for me.

versus_god (August 14, 2008)

"I Hope You Know" is my new favorite Off With Their Heads song.

rocktopus (August 13, 2008)

Oh boy, I can't wait to hear this.

skankin_in_the_pit (August 13, 2008)

"The cover of this record is better than the music on The '59 Sound."

Every single thing about this record is better than the music on The '59 Sound. Fixed.

telegraphrocks (August 13, 2008)

The cover of this record is better than the music on The '59 Sound.

xmidipunkbastardx (August 13, 2008)

i was a bit let down at first, the preleaked tracks on myspace hyped me up too much, i guess. most songs have grown on me though.

except for the closing number. it just doesn't have what off with their heads mean to me personally. oh well.

scientistrock (August 13, 2008)

2 =/= 4

NotPatriotic (August 13, 2008)

As punk as it gets.

6 Amazing Songs: I Am You, 1612 Havenhurst, Keep Falling Down, Terrorist Attack, For The Four, Ten Years Trouble
2 Good Songs: Until The Day, Self Checkout, Fuck This I'm Out, I Hope You Know
2 Decent Songs, Wrong, Go On Git Now

Great Fucking Album. This band rules.

scientistrock (August 13, 2008)

I'm on board with Mr. Ramone. I'm not sure if their best songs are on this, but all around, this is their best release.

mattramone (August 13, 2008)

I'm just going to come out and say it. I like it better than Hospitals.

Rastid (August 13, 2008)

Excellent album. Like it much better than "All Things..." That said, it's just not nearly as catchy as "Hospitals."

TommyPickles (August 12, 2008)

Amazing album

polaris (August 12, 2008)

Damn, this shit is good!

mikexdude (August 12, 2008)

Band is cool. Good review, as always, Bryne.

mattramone (August 12, 2008)

Easily one of the best records of the year.

abracadaver (August 12, 2008)

Forgot to include my score. Yeah the vocals are definitely an acquired taste, but this is just great orgcore.

Chewy_Almighty (August 12, 2008)

definitely sounds like they've been listening to alot of '77 or more current 'street punk' music. and Bouncing Souls.

JerryCola (August 12, 2008)

This album will most likely wind up in my top 5 albums of 2008. Sure thereís nothing earth shattering about it but itís consistently solid and Iíve listened to it repeatedly so far without growing tired of it.

"Keep Falling Down" is the best track on here.

diver (August 12, 2008)

I thought this was a really solid album.
And it is probably one of the few albums I can listen to more than once in one sitting.

Jesse (August 12, 2008)

Really one of the only punk bands out there today that plays punk music. Half of the chord progressions are ripped straight outta '77, and injected with fierce energy and a nihilistic world view.

Overall, I commend these fine gentlemen.

Chewy_Almighty (August 12, 2008)

will most likely be in the top 3 for me along with the Tim Version's 'Decline of the Southern Gentleman'

erff (August 12, 2008)

I'm going with top 5 best albums of the year.atleast for me it is. its damn good.

scientistrock (August 12, 2008)

This will end up as either 3 or 4 on the year-end list.

SilentStorms (August 12, 2008)

Wow, I listened to this because of the review. The singing is god-awful. Just terrible! Score is for the song I heard on Myspace.

bryne (August 12, 2008)

And yeah dude, Hospitals is an EP. It's great nonetheless.

bryne (August 12, 2008)

Thanks Jon. I guess I do give a lot of stuff I review high scores but admittedly, the 'punknews curve' often overtakes my thinking.

I'm really into this record, and 3.5 seemed too low a score.

SloaneDaley (August 12, 2008)

good review Bryne, probably one of my favourite reviewers for some reason but maybe it's just me but I think you hand out the high scores easily.

baseball (August 12, 2008)

Are you serious? Everyone on this site has been all about Hospitals for a good year or two. Isn't that an EP, anyway?

baseball (August 12, 2008)

I wouldn't go so far as to say one of the best records of the year, but really good. Good review.

deadbrokerekerds (August 12, 2008)

Do you uber-punks even read up on a band before reviewing?

This is NOT their first full-length. Your completely missing "HOSPITALS" on Recess Records. and your crazy for doing so, cus that album is unbelievable.

ddb43 (August 12, 2008)

Great review of a great album. I didn't find it to be that clean, but just clean enough. This album has some lasting power.

abracadaver (August 12, 2008)

First. :P

And this record is awesome. Definitely in contention for record of the year, although it looks like "The '59 Sound" has a lockdown on that so far. "Keep Falling Down" is my favorite song off this.

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