Sunday, March 6, 2011

NOFX - Punk in Drublic (1994)

In 1994, Californian post-hardcore punk rock broke into the American musical mainstream. Rancid had a radio single and major label offers, Green Day had MTV music videos and The Offspring's Smash went multi-platinum. NOFX's Punk in Drublic may have failed to meet the commercial success of the other '94 punk albums, but it is without a doubt one of the tightest, well written and "punkest" albums ever recorded.

NOFX, veterans of Epitaph Records since 1989, had spent the better part of a decade touring, recording and honing their sound when they finally cut their magnum opus in '94. It's tight, fast, refreshingly witty; in a word, it's punk. Songs like "Linoleum" and "Happy Guy" show their hardcore roots with high tempos, deep hooks and short track times while "Reeko" and "My Heat is Yearning"expand the group's approach without slowing down the overall flow of the album. "Get in, get out" may be too traditional for some bands, but NOFX really makes 17 tracks in 39 minutes work here. Lyrically, singer Fat Mike aptly criticizes American society and government, lampoons the commercialization of the punk scene and even takes time to defend the homeless and "adult actresses" without getting preachy or heavy handed. It's fast, clever, insightful and simply a fun album to listen to. With a history of writing anti-commercial songs, it almost seems as if NOFX did everything they could to write an amazing punk album that could stay off the radio at a time when DJ's scoured the nation for the next Green Day.

Punk in Drublic failed where other similar release succeeded not because it's a bad record, but because it doesn't have any singles or anthems. It has the punk attack, snarkyness and oozin' ahs that mark the breakout records, but lacks the catchy sing-along tracks that got MTV airtime. Regardless, if you like punk, you'll love Punk in Drublic. For the uninitiated, it's also a great place to start, especially if you think that "Longview" is edgy.

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Read the expanded review, complete with looks at the histories of NOFX and '90s punk rock, at *Wrestlemania*!!

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