Aural Pleasures Review: OFF!'s 'Wasted Years'




Wasted Years may seem a strange title for a band fronted by a guy who founded two of punk’s most seminal acts. But that’d be overlooking Keith Morris’ almost two decades in punk purgatory following his departure from Black Flag and the Circle Jerks, a time in which he mostly settled into his role as a punk legend, trying to come up with something new to say. OFF!’s two previous releases have shown a reborn Morris, and Wasted Years largely follows that script. He’s as pissed as ever, railing against corrupt bankers, syphilitic bastards and sometimes no one in particular (“You fuck with me? I’ll fuck with you!”). As frontman and living punk legend, Morris certainly attracts most of OFF!’s attention.

But it doesn’t take more than a listen through Wasted Years to hear how thoroughly the album is indebted to Dimitri Coats. His guitars growl, squeal and charge ruthlessly through all 16 tracks, lending the sort of sonic cattle prod necessary to inspire Morris’ throat-rending performances. There’s not much in the way of progression on Wasted Years, but that’d be missing the point. This is visceral, razor-sharp, no-frills punk, and it doesn’t need to be anything more.