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Music Review: NOFX – Coaster

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Not too many bands out there would make fun of the  struggling music industry by naming their latest release after what CDs are almost becoming, but NOFX had no problem doing so.  After just celebrating their 25th anniversary as a self-regulating punk-rock foursome, the band has just released a new album entitled Coaster on CD (as well as the limited edition Frisbee on vinyl).  

This is the band’s eleventh studio release under Fat Mike’s self created label Fat Wreck Chords.  The CD is almost like a career journey taking some sounds to their younger years with a harder rough feel at times but also incorporates their current more mature style making for a well rounded listen.

In the beginning NOFX was more of a hardcore, skate-punk, disorder band of the eighties.  Throughout the years they added elements of punk rock, pop punk, and even ska into their musical style, almost creating a unique genre of their own.  With methods of trying everything once and asking questions later, the band has changed their style on more than one occasion including adding their personal views on America and the government but never leaving out their incredible sense of humor. 

Getting wasted and popping pills were things the band never thought twice about nor was what ever spilled out of their mouths.  Speaking their mind about religion and government were just a couple topics the band was not afraid of singing about and something the fans looked up to.  It appears that this time though, perhaps now that GWB isn’t office anymore, the band has decided to focus on the less obvious on at least a couple of the tracks.  It might also be that most of the band are now family men who may be still young at heart but getting up there in age.

With just a brief interaction with MTV in the past, the band has always been quick to show their middle finger to corporate marketing and do things themselves.  They built their own success without the help of others.  Their hard work and dedication paid off over the years as they still remain one of the most important punk rock acts out there. 

Recently the band toyed with going commercial as their FUSE hit rockumentary series was released on DVD entitled NOFX: Backstage Passport.  The series was a huge hit with many fans old and young as it featured NOFX on one of the craziest world tours in areas most bands would never set foot at.  Not even a month later now Coaster has been released.  NOFX fans all over the world are shaking with excitement. 

The CD started off just like any other NOFX CD enticing the listener immediately with the pop punk powerful .  Next up was "Quitter" which basically nailed all the folk out there who have given up on codependency. 

The very personal, and almost tear jerking, “My Orphan Year” talked about the loss of Fat Mike’s parents in 2006 with the death of a non-existent father and the passing of an angel of a mother.  The line alone “I bet if you had been there, there wouldn’t be this song” really shows a more emotional side to the band that usually is all about slapstick.

Hands down the funniest song on the CD was “Creeping Out Sara” speaking of Canadian sisters Tegan and Sara.  The lesbian punk rock song almost sounds like an actual conversation but the truth remains to be told.  Continuing the fun was “Eddie, Bruce and Paul” a fast fun punk rock song with a sick guitar solo and hammering bass.  The song has nothing to do in the aspect of “Liza and Louise” as some might suspect due to the three dude title, but is more of an ode to Iron Maiden with a NOFX twist.

“Best God In Show” pokes fun at over exaggerated religious shout outs with a more ska punk feel backing it up.  The song seemed to be aimed at the punk rockers who are growing up and still laughing at the way things are.  “I AM An Alcoholic” pretty much sums up the type of song you would expect to hear with a title about addiction.  “One Million Coasters” ended the CD strongly with an array of music playing including an bass clarinet.  The song slowly faded out ending this first-rate crack of a release.

For anyone worried that Coaster might not be all that, there is nothing to worry about.  This CD is really a great listen and NOFX proves that it does not matter how old you are, just how you do it.  Even if the band has been around for 25 years they still have it.  They will be doing all that they can to entertain their fans and themselves with every release issued for hopefully years to come.    Look for the band this summer as they return to stage at the Van’s Warped Tour once again.

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