NOFX - Wolves in Wolves' Clothing (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Wolves in Wolves' Clothing (2006)

Fat Wreck Chords

Any review of NOFX will mention at least one of these two facts:

  1. The band has been around since 1983.
  2. They have always sounded like NOFX. They did then and they do now.
That said, NOFX's last album, the controversial War on Errororism divided opinions not because of the musical content, but because the band shed their (undeserved) apolitical reputation to strike a blow for the oft-ignored centrist America. Even though the band was branded as extreme liberal agitators, very little about Errorism was on the hard left and this of course led the more staunchly leftist bands taking their own shots at the band as well.

So while taking it from both sides, the band pushed forward with their agenda to push for a reasonable America and were chastised in the press for it. This despite the fact that the band was never apolitical; the band's perfect EP, The Decline clearly demonstrated political leanings, as did their choice to cover "Perfect Government" during the Clinton era and "Kill All the White Men," which raised hackles as recently as last year for its ironic content.

With Wolves, the second album from the "political" NOFX, the band has narrowed its focus substantially to the point where it would be reasonable to describe one dominant theme: the disastrous consequence of giving governance to the most extreme of religious people. You know who I'm talking about; the people who can't seem to keep their noses out of anyone's business, whether it's what people do in the privacy of their homes, or how they chose to live, or how they chose to amuse themselves.

The wonderful "Leaving Jesusland" should become a rallying call for all moderate people sick of that attitude, the people -- atheist, Jewish, Christian or otherwise -- who want to see a rational thought enter the discourse again. "USA-holes" is as catchy as it is correct, and the deathly serious and speedy "You Will Lose Faith" asks how much faith is built on a house of cards.

Of course, this is still NOFX, so the band also manages to spend some time with the staples: the general apathy of "60%, " the pothead ramblings of "Instant Crassic" or the Adolescents tribute of "One Celled Creature." The album's single, "Seeing Double at the Triple Rock" is both a shoutout to the venue owned by a member of Dillinger Four and an ode to getting completely shitfaced.

Despite an abundance of reliably strong contributions, like "Leaving Jesusland" and "Seeing Double at the Triple Rock," the album suffers from one main problem; the album lacks any cohesiveness. Tracks like "Cantano en Espanol" just don't fit between "Wolves" and "100 Times Fuckeder." This isn't the seemingly random style jumping of Two Heebs, which despite its mix of pop-punk, hardcore, jazz and ska managed to sound complete. Rather, it almost sounds like the band selected random tracks from their 7-inch sessions to record. As a result, despite being written by one songwriter, the music seems hastily assembled.

As always, NOFX delivers a plurality of strong material; 23 years later, the band is still going strong and is certainly one of the most reliable punk bands around, both live and on record. Within their catalog, this album isn't the strongest (that'd be a three-way tie between Punk in Drublic, The Decline and So Long...) but it isn't the weakest (Liberal Animation); simply, a solid entry. It's not a classic, but it's classic NOFX.