The first thing I thought when I heard OFF! was, “Holy shit, did I just fall down a rabbit hole through time?”. When I came to, after a short :59 second sonic black out, I pretty much knew that any 20 year old kid playing “punk” music today, in 2010 should just quit because Keith Morris, legendary singer from Black Flag and The Circle Jerks has a new band of dudes that are more riotous, infecting, disease and flea ridden and harder, faster and more pissy then a bunch of fashion punks from New York.
Morris is a man on fire. Still just as volatile and upset as he was when he first picked up a microphone and let the neurotic ramblings tumble from his brain into a thrashy shout out his mouth. He is backed by a pretty amazing band that consists of three generations of punk rock musicians. His contemporary, Steven McDonald did time in Red Kross and plays a very thunderous bass part that aims to break your face. Anchoring the rhythm section is Mario Rubalcaba who spent time in Rocket from the Crypt and set in stone his name with Hot Snakes. The guitar position is masterfully filled with Burning Bride’s Dimitri Coats whose frantic, full neck chord stretches create an ear damaging barrage of awesome riffs.
Shit is not helped out by the fact that grumpy artist Raymond Pettibon, the dude responsible for Black Flag and SST art work from the day who does amazing, fucked up, brain damaged black and white paintings. His desperate, deplorable visuals of sparse violence are once again the perfect visual to accompany such dehydrated music. The video for “Black Thoughts” (which you can find here) shows Pettibon creating one of the covers for the first four EP’s that aren’t even out yet. It’s pretty intense to actually see the dude whose art work defined my life between 1991-1995. Which, considering I respond so strongly to OFF! now, means I am either stuck in a quick boomerang arrested development or I never aged past 18. Neither of these scenarios bothers me though.
The entire collection doesn’t drop until next week, and though I am unemployed, I think I need to lay down the cash for the 7″ Box Set. I mean, the music is insane and it has Pettibon art throughout. Honestly, this is the most exciting thing that’s happened to “Punk Rock” in a long time. Even without the cool art work, OFF! still stands up. Why? Because they are urgent, pissed off, and loud. That’s all they need to be. There are no gimmicks here. This isn’t a rehash of old ideas or a manufactured homage to the past. OFF! are just four dudes who want to break the world in half. Not one song at a time, but with one crushing blow.