No Use For A Name - ¡Leche Con Carne! (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

No Use For A Name

¡Leche Con Carne! (1995)

Fat Wreck Chords

No Use For A Name was one of the earliest bands to sign to Fat Wreck Chords and one of the bands at the fore front of having that “Fat Wreck sound” during the “Epi-Fat years” that undoubtedly influenced a wave of pop punk bands that followed.¡Leche Con Carne! is really the band’s most popular, memorable, and influential albums in their discography.

Right off the bat, there was a pretty obvious and big Bad Religion influence through out this album. Tracks like “Justified Black Eye,” “Couch Boy,” “51 Days,” and “Leave It Behind” all had heavily distorted palm muting, a screaming, in-your-face guitar solo-esque main riff, accompanied by some very impressive three-part vocal harmonies.

But to say that No Use For A Name tried emulating Bad Religion completely on this record would be massively undercutting their originality on this record. Sure the Bad Religion influence was there, but No Use For A Name did take that sound and undoubtedly twists and sculpts it to made it their own. Guitarist and lead vocalist, Tony Sly’s voice was a very unique aspect of this album. For most of it his voice tended to be on the edge between yelling and singing a melody, something many have tried, but cannot always get right. In song “Fields of Agony,” one of the more political songs on this album, you heard Tony walk that fine line between yelling and singing during the chorus, but he was then able to flawlessly transition into joining the rest of the singers in the three-part harmonies during the choruses. Tony was also able to sing in this way that sounds like he is being confrontational and yet somehow seems like he is pleading with anger when he sings “What about the economy?” during this track especially.

There were also a few tracks on ¡Leche Con Carne! that definitely stuck out from the others. It would be downright moronic of me if I didn’t mention the song “Soulmate,” which is probably the NUFAN’s most popular song. “Soulmate” (in a positive way) was the epitome of pop punk love songs. The lyrics were super honest about the feelings you can have for a significant other and they are mixed with that very recognizable, high-pitched and octave-filled riff. Every time I heard that riff, I instantly got hit with nostalgia and memories of the ‘90s.

Another pretty significant track on this album was NUFAN’s cover of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song,” where the band sped the song up dramatically, added some distortion and drums, and turned it into a very fun pop punk song. Transforming non-punk songs into punk rock anthems was an art NUFAN’s labelmate’s, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes would go on to master around the same time this album was released. After all of those tweaks and additions that were made on this track, Tony still maintained the emotion and feeling that Bob Marley put into singing this song when Marley recorded it so many years before.

What I completely forgot about until I listened to this album again for this review is that “Redemption Song” was not the only cover song on ¡Leche Con Carne!. If you wait patiently through the few minutes after the last song “Exit,” the band recorded a pop-punk medley of songs from all sorts of different genres and sub-genres which featured The Cars’ song "Just What I Needed", Green Day’s massive hit ‘90s "Basket Case", Missing Persons' "Words", Berlin's "The Metro", David Bowie's "Space Oddity", Toni Basil's 80’s pop hit "Mickey", The Knack's "My Sharona", Twisted Sister's rebellious and anthemic track "We're Not Gonna Take It", Pat Benatar's popp-y "Hit Me with Your Best Shot", and the riff to Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" at the very end.

Sadly, on July 31, 2012 Tony Sly passed away and No Use For A Name decided to call it quits after the news of his death was announced. It is coming up on the third year anniversary of Tony’s death and I don’t think there is any doubt how much he and NUFAN influenced so many melodic punk bands especially with their album ¡Leche Con Carne!. This album will always be considered a pop-punk classic and a classic amongst the ever-growing Fat Wreck Chords catalogue. Tony Sly’s had many musical achievements through out his career, but ¡Leche Con Carne! is definitely one of the biggest, if not the biggest musical achievement he created before leaving us too soon.