NOFX - Coaster (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Coaster (2009)

Fat Wreck Chords

Is there anything about NOFX that Mitch Clem hasn't said better than I ever could? Those drunken California punks dropped Coaster, their 11th studio album, this year, and just about any and all conventional wisdom about the band holds true. Coaster boasts 12 technically proficient, lyrically stunted anthems about boozing and/or using, mocking religion and/or politics and creeping out Tegan and/or Sara. The political songs are significantly dialed down compared to The War on Errorism and Wolves in Wolves' Clothing. But there is a touching personal song from frontman "Fat" Mike called "My Orphan Year" that stands next to his past work like "Falling in Love." Ultimately, the disc is somewhat of a non-entity; it doesn't tread new territory but it doesn't embarrass the band worse than their live antics ever could. It's punk rock, clam flammit.

Coaster feels plagued by a lack of identity, repeating postures from older songs. The album art is a joke about how compact discs are slowly losing value as music collections, though the track it refers to, album-ender "One Million Coasters," never lifts off. It's a bum ending about the fading music industry that, compared to say, "Dinosaurs Will Die," lacks bite. "First Call" and "I Am an Alcoholic" recycle drunk humor. "We Called It America" predicts the U.S.'s decline, but it's neither as angry as "Franco Un-American" or, uh, "The Decline," nor at least funny like "Murder the Government."

Speaking of funny songs, the band might get a laugh out of "Eddie, Bruce, and Paul," a homoerotic thriller rife with Iron Maiden references. Plus, there's some sweet shredding and falsetto at the end. The this-isn't-actually-a-diss-track diss track "Creeping Out Sara," a lazily assembled piece about, well, creeping out one of the Quinn sisters, isn't that funny, though. It pretty much comes down to how funny you find incest and/or lesbians.

Then again, while its lyrics are somewhat weak, Coaster's music is still top-notch NOFX-style punk. "Best God in Show" and "I Am an Alcoholic" are tasty ska-punk concoction. "We Called It America" is a catchy toe-tapper. "Fat" Mike gets some sweet basslines on "My Orphan Year" and "Suits and Ladders." Coaster has a few tracks I wouldn't mind hearing live, provided it doesn't dominate the set list. Taken as a whole, it's a decent 25th anniversary release from NOFX. Is it irreverent? Yeah. Is it irrelevant? A little bit. Is it NOFX? Of course.