June 8, 2006

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NOFX, Wolves in Wolves’ Clothing
Fat Wreck Chords, 2006

NOFX is not here to entertain you. Singer/bassist Fat Mike even says as much on “60%,” the opening song to this L.A. punk-rock group’s eleventh record, Wolves in Wolves’ Clothing.

For close to 20 years now NOFX has been pissing off people of all faiths, colors, nationalities and creeds (but mostly Bush-supporting neo-cons) and this outing is no different than 2003’s The War on Errorism. “USA-holes” blazes by at about 330 beats per minute, with high-octane buzzsaw guitars straight out of the Descendents handbook, while “You Will Lose Faith” and “Leaving Jesusland” prove equally mosh-worthy. NOFX play around with their four-chord formula a tad on the dub-inflected anarchist anthem “The Marxist Brothers” and the heavy-metal head-charger, “One Celled Creature.”

“Doornails,” meanwhile, is a melancholy acoustic ode to friends passed away, while “Benny Got Blowed Up” seethes with frustration at a colleague soldier’s death in Iraq and the title track may well be the slowest, most restrained song NOFX has ever crafted. Throughout it all Fat Mike remains gleefully immature in his cynical, yet often poignant insights into AmeriKKKan culture. “We call the heartland not very smart land,” he sneers in “Leaving Jesusland,” while “The Marxist Brothers” claims, “The people’s revolution/Is gonna be a Podcast.”

After being thoroughly disappointed by a series of slick, over-produced albums from groups like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Tool, Wolves in Wolves’ Clothing’s messy, haphazard tunes, many of which sound as though they were tossed together in a matter of minutes, prove a breath of fresh air. I don’t know how truly “punk” NOFX is, or if the band’s music even matters to anyone other than myself and a small core of followers. However, when compared with the empty, radio-friendly corporate rock of recent releases, NOFX’s music sounds more pure, honest, engaging and just plain fun than anything else out there right now. B+

— Adam Marletta


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