No Use for a Name - The Feel Good Record of the Year (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

No Use for a Name

No Use for a Name: The Feel Good Record of the Year

The Feel Good Record of the Year (2008)

Fat Wreck Chords


3.5
The Feel Good Record of the Year might not live up to its name, but the ninth full-length from these San Jose, California mainstays is the best album the band has released since 1997's Making Friends, save for some of the very best moments from More Betterness!. It's not so much that the album is a ...

The Feel Good Record of the Year might not live up to its name, but the ninth full-length from these San Jose, California mainstays is the best album the band has released since 1997's Making Friends, save for some of the very best moments from More Betterness!. It's not so much that the album is a return to form for the band; they've never strayed too far from their melodic skatepunk sound they landed upon after ditching their harder material in the early `90s. It seems instead as though the band has finally grasped what exactly it is they're best at and what their fans want from them, which are coincidently the same thing. No Use for a Name sound best when playing melodic skatepunk at a fast pace with hints of melancholy and the occasional acoustic song; No Use for a Name's fans like it when they play melodic skatepunk at a fast pace with hints of melancholy and the occasional acoustic song.

At its best moments, songs from The Feel Good Record of the Year would fit seamlessly on any of the band's older albums, especially "I Want to Be Wrong" with its killer bassline and the title track which feels like a B-side from Making Friends that someone eventually got scolded at for forgetting about. The piano-driven "Ontario" is a welcome break to the driving tempo carried through most of the album. While there are plenty of changes in the mood of the record while it plays through, those changes match the mood of the band, which has always had its own ups and downs lyrically and musically.

The band does stumble at times, though. "Yours to Destroy" sounds like a cross between the Ataris' version of "Boys of Summer" and a synth track left on the computer that someone forgot to erase. Meanwhile, "The Trumpet Player" throws the listener off track momentarily with its too-slow bass drum that sounds a little too similar to a NOFX song I don't like. But these few low points don't get in the way of what at its core is a fantastic return of a band that I miss rocking out to in my (friend's) car in the (high) school parking lot.

I don't know if this was a conscious effort by No Use for a Name to win back fans who have wandered away, but regardless, it has certainly brought me back into the fold and will most likely do the same for others.