OFF! - 1st EP (Cover Artwork)


OFF!: 1st EP1st EP (2010)
Vice Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:

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

Whew!!!... I mean... Whew!!!... God damn...just... Wooo weeee!!!! I realize that as reviewers, we're supposed to maintain a reserved distance from the records we're talking about and say things like "so and so has shown remarkable growth and experimentation since the last release" or "this album .
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Whew!!!... I mean... Whew!!!... God damn...just... Wooo weeee!!!!

I realize that as reviewers, we're supposed to maintain a reserved distance from the records we're talking about and say things like "so and so has shown remarkable growth and experimentation since the last release" or "this album exists as a one-off designed to test the limits of sonic comprehension" or "the tirade of Animal Collective homages has reached the breaking point of overexposure."

But you know what? Sometimes you just have to throw your hands in the air and hit the deck as a band kicks in the door and just obliterates the place. This EP rocks, man. It rocks hard.

OFF! is composed of the legendary Keith Morris (Black Flag, Circle Jerks), Dimitri Coates (Burning Brides), Steven McDonald (Redd Kross) and Mario Rubalcaba (Rocket from the Crypt). I hate to use the term supergroup, because a supergroup seems to suggest that each member is being used as a highlight, where was with OFF! the music comes off as one cohesive band with all members kicking out the jams like a train jumping the tracks.

Consisting of four songs that are about a minute long each, this first EP release from the band seems to be a call to arms. This isn't a release where a guy talks about being sad about a breakup. This isn't a release where the efficacy of international trade is examined. This is an EP of politics on the micro scale. Much like Black Flag's Nervous Breakdown, the songs focus deep inside the mind of Morris as he explodes onto anything and everything near--a timebomb of irritation, frustration and anger. There's something wrong in the world, but all we see are the symptoms, and not the cause.

But, this isn't purely a Keith Morris show. As great as the diminutive singer is, he needs a crack band to help him shove his ire down our ears. Coats' guitar slams out out short and snappy riffs, influenced by both Detroit port punk and Southern California hardcore. While Coates' guitar lashes out, heightening Morris' howl, McDonald provides that thick bass that seems to merge with the guitar and Rubalcaba pushes it all forward with fast and loose smashes on the skins. These jams aren't technical perfection--they are raw and loud.

Notably, the cover was done by Raymond Pettibon, who also did the Nervous Breakdown EP as well as a lot of other Black Flag art. As a whole, with its four tracks, open white art, and songs that shatter at the end, the EP seems to mirror Nervous Breakdown as an opening statement for a new band. It's not clear if Morris is commenting on modern punk, sending out an homage to his roots, or tapping into the source that yields his fiercest music, but at any rate, this is seriously some of his best stuff.

In punk, it's far too often that icons get their respect AFTER they've passed on. I mean, Joe Strummer was not selling out venues at the end of his career. The Ramones were almost a footnote at their own final show due to the stars present. The Germs didn't really get notice outside of L.A. until long after Crash's death.

But, here is a band of veterans in TOP FORM. Although they've all created fantastic music in their past, this gives the older work a run for its money. Show some respect people. These are legends in action. Whew!


People who liked this also liked:
OFF! - First Four EPs [box set]The Menzingers - Chamberlain WaitsBlack Flag - Nervous BreakdownDescendents - Milo Goes To CollegeOFF! - OFF!The Clash - London CallingBad Brains - Bad BrainsCock Sparrer - Shock TroopsPropagandhi - Supporting CasteAgainst Me! - As The Eternal Cowboy

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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.
joeg (October 25, 2010)

Choosing between Nervous Breakdown and Jealous Again would be like choosing 1 of my kids over the other. I saw Off! by the way last week at an in-store in NYC. Keith Morris looked like a psychotic maniac on stage. Band was super tight. And I was grinning from ear to ear the whole time.

slowstupidhungry (October 23, 2010)

"Jealous Again" is great, but "Nervous Breakdown" is better. Pederast's vocals are nondescript compared to "Nervous Breakdown." Shit, even Keith's performance on "Group Sex" is nondescript compared to what he did on "Nervous Breakdown." It's like Johnny Rotten and Nick Blinko mixed together. Completely unhinged.

noah (October 23, 2010)

Mikexdude is correct, and Jealous Again is the best Black Flag record

peasetill2 (October 22, 2010)

This EP is incredible. Hope the others are just as good!

thepopeofchili-town (October 22, 2010)

I'd rather hang out with Rollins but I like Morris' vocals better.

Cos (October 22, 2010)

why do I get the feeling that this EP is sold out because of art collectors wanting the limited Pettibon poster.

Fuck you Vice, just let me buy the mp3s is some fashion.

Cos (October 22, 2010)

you're so fucking wrong
(goddamn, that felt good)

MIKEXDUDE (October 21, 2010)

Jealous Again > Nervous Breakdown.

ashtraymonument (October 21, 2010)

dude morris' version of gimme gimme gimme is the best

also, I had some junk mail in my box today, and the recipient was ron reyes. i chuckled

sailin_on (October 20, 2010)

slowtupidhungry, well what of Everything Went Black? What are you referencing exactly? My opinion of it? Personally, I'm not a fan of Morris's work on Everything Went Black. I think those songs are better exemplified by Rollins. However, Keith made the Nervous Breakdown EP his own. No one could or can sing those songs quite like he can.

slowstupidhungry (October 20, 2010)

sailin_on, what about the Keith Morris songs on "Everything Went Black?"

A weird starting point, but it was hard getting into Black Flag after hearing the Keith Morris era first. When I got to understand metal more, I realized how good mid 80's Black Flag was, but as far as their punk years, they never topped "Nervous Breakdown."

sailin_on (October 19, 2010)

I just combined the Nervous Breakdown EP and the 1st 7" onto one playlist and mixed up the tracks. This is so satisyfing. Not only does it give me an excuse to listen to the well over played Black Flag EP but the OFF! songs mixed in make it much more exciting as one cohesive album thats flows together perfectly. I labeled the playlist Black OFF! respectively. The order of the tracks:

1. Nervous Breakdown
2. I Don't Belong
3. Fix Me
4. I've Had It
5. Black Thoughts
6. Upside Down
7. Wasted
8. Darkness

This is worth doing if you really want to get something more out of two excellent E.Ps

regreteverything (October 19, 2010)

I still can't get over how good this is.

sailin_on (October 19, 2010)

Upsidsedown FTW. The other songs I have to give a couple listens to really get into.

Nato77 (October 19, 2010)

It's just so fucking amazing. This Ep has all the elements of a real hardcore album, fast and dirty riffs plus the angry screams showing frustration and discomfort.

ashtraymonument (October 19, 2010)

balls to the wall

bryne (October 19, 2010)

Longest review for a four-minute EP ever?

Anyway, this shit rules.

joeg (October 19, 2010)

i'll stop short of calling this great but say it's really good. stoked on seeing off! this thursday at cmj.

oldpunkerforever (October 19, 2010)

funny thing is , this is not breaking any new ground. So y then does it sound so darn brilliant-oldpunker-

Cos (October 19, 2010)

so damn excited about this.

JayTee (October 19, 2010)

This is indeed the best stuff I've heard in a very long time. Saw em at Riot Fest and they kicked major ass live too.

kerrious (October 19, 2010)

Blew my fucking mind away!

thepopeofchili-town (October 19, 2010)

This fucking rules! EP of the year for sure/

xshoutoutx (October 19, 2010)

Fucking excellent

rancidtommy (October 19, 2010)

best record of the year! THe best hardcore band around fronted by one of the originals. CLASSIC

noah (October 19, 2010)

Reading this review takes more time than listening to the record

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