3:48 PM EDT, May 7, 2012
3 stars (out of 4)
On its second, self-titled album (Vice), Off! doesn’t tolerate long-windedness of any kind, musical or otherwise. Solos? There is exactly one (which lasts nine seconds) among the quartet’s 16 songs; the album blurs past in less than 16 minutes and then demands to be played again. It’s all about riff and rant, the equivalent of a punch-out in an alley. The street characters in these songs grapple with gangs, homelessness, poverty, conformity. They seek empty solitude in drugs and booze.
“You pushed me inna corner/What did you expect?” singer Keith Morris declares. Morris has been rabble-rousing since he fronted first-generation Los Angeles hardcore bands such as Black Flag and the Circle Jerks decades ago. He’s joined by Steven McDonald (Red Kross), Mario Rubalcaba (Rocket from the Crypt) and Dimitri Coats (Burning Brides) in a quartet that plays each song as if it were a grenade: pull the pin and fling it as far as it’ll go before it blows up in your face.
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