NOFX, throughout their almost four decades career, has been known for making controversial statements, and the band members have not become more mild-mannered as they enter their fifties. The latest being that the Beatles’ White Album wasn’t “any good”.
For many, such a statement is blasphemous. However, it wasn’t the Beatles themselves, just the double album they made. NOFX have also lambasted double albums by Husker Du, Minutemen, and Smashing Pumpkins. Double Album is not a double album; it’s a collection of ten brief tracks which follows NOFX’s 2021 Single Album and the 2020 split album West Coast vs Wessex NOFX did with Frank Turner.
Double Album opens with “Darby Crashing Your Party”, which bursts with youthful energy and adrenaline from the outset. It’s impossible to fathom that NOFX will enter their 40th year in 2023. The sophomore “My Favourite Enemy” begins its life with The Clash style guitars; it is an honest self-critique that places no blame on others, bad luck or circumstances one finds themselves in. The dark lyrics address, through a punk rock forum, the problems of a lack of willpower and being impatient.
The third song, “Don’t Count On Me”, the longest song on this LP, being the only one to push past the four-minute barrier, comes in five parts. The introductory slow guitar solos unexpectedly sped up when Fat Mike sings about how unreliable he is and that he chooses to be this way and warns people not to be dependent upon him. The song slows down again with gentle drumming to then speed up again and playout with ska and reggae organ chords which sees El Hefe join Fat Mike on lyrics to describe his fellow band members using Star Trek references and predict how in the future “there will still be no Mexicans in space”. The ska and reggae organ chords continue into the next song, “Joanna Constant Teen”, where halfway through the 78-second track, it speeds up into a burst of up-tempo punk rock energy.
From creating punk rock, energy comes “Punk Rock Cliché”, which is part philosophical asking, Who made this mess we call home? It is a retrospective about how “we knew the risks, we played the game… we fed the flames”. The latter part of the album overall becomes rather dark. “Fuck Day Six” mixes the darkness of rehabilitation with comedy about doing this through “a Buddhist with a Jewish name”, whilst the penultimate track “Three Against Me” goes full throttle into a recollection of a troubled childhood and contemplating suicide at aged 13.
Whilst the darkness isn’t dim and is a deft positive galvaniser that will undoubtedly create motivated moshing, it’s the attempts at being comedic and goofy where Double Album falls short. The Stephen Hawking references in “Is It Too Soon If Time Is Relative” are cringing and disrespectful. Whilst the band have justly earned respect for being fearless and for taking the knocks that come with this throughout their career with grace, it’s impossible to see why NOFX singled out Stephen Hawking the way they did.
Double Album, albeit despite its briefness, could have been a punk rock masterpiece, but sadly it is let down by “Is It Too Soon If Time Is Relative”. Whilst some may say it’s just one song, it’s meant as harmless fun; the song chooses the wrong target and has the power to unite people and channel their energy on the wrong things. It’s such a shame; NOFX have brought people together so many times for the right things, like when Fat Mike did for the Rock Against Bush compilation albums back in 2004.
This review sucks. Poorly written and published on a website that hardly covers punk.
Sorry you didn’t like the review, Jeff. We try to cover every genre from time to time. You cant get more punk that this: https://www.xsnoize.com/interview-john-lydon-on-his-battle-against-sex-pistols-biopic-upcoming-pil-tour-jimmy-savile-and-more/