Review Summary: Minor Threat's only full length album is short, sweet and possibly the best thing to come out of D.C.
Minor Threat's first and only album was recorded in 1983, the year they ceased to exist as a band. While they had already released several EPs and appeared on a number of compilation albums they had yet to produce anything that could be called an album. What they finally came up with was Out Of Step a classic in it's own right and one of the most influential albums of it's time.
While at first glance Out Of Step is just a continuation of the speedy political hardore seen on their first EPs, the band has grown both lyrically and technically. More melody is apparent on tracks like Betray and Little Friend and the band shows more musical depth by including some relatively slow songs such as Look Back And Laugh and Cashing In. Cashing In,(which is only available on the LP version) sounds nothing like Minor Threats' earlier work and is a kind of foreshadowing of the type of music frontman Ian Mackaye would do in Fugazi. While earlier Minor Threat songs burst out of the starting gate at breakneck tempos and shouted vocals, Cashing In is slower and even shows that Minor Threat had a sense of humor, with lyrics about how Minor Threat was getting rich with other people's money (which they were in no way doing.)
The other songs in the album, though; are closer to the Minor Threat fans know and love, with some considerable improvements. Betray features an excellent riff that just gets stuck in your head and has an amazing shout along chorus that is simply the title of the song repeated 4 or 5 times. Also on the album is a re-recording of Out Of Step, which appeared on an earlier EP but wound up as the title track for this album. Both versions are the speedy punk rock that Minor Threat is famous for but this version has a bridge with a spoken word section by Ian. While the original version of this song is amazing the spoken word section both makes the message Ian is trying to get across more clear and adds to the intensity of the song.
The only slight comlaint I have about this album is that it is too short. At 21 minutes on the LP version (18 on the cd) it speeds by before you realize it. This is really the only thing keeping me from giving it a 5 as their are no weak tracks and the best songs are also some of the best you will ever hear. But if you prefer short albums to hour long monster albums then this is for you anyway.
Minor Threat-Out Of Step
Good - Amazing songs
Technical and lyrical growth by Minor Threat
Inexpensive on vinyl
Bad - Too short