OK, so I know this is only half way through the year, but I don't want to do a review of 24 songs in January. So I'm splitting it, half and half. NOFX ended last year with word of the 7" Of The Month Club, a subscription service where you would receive a new 7" from them every month. All sounds good, right? From first glance, it doesn't feel like NOFX put much thought into the songs, most of which between 1 and 2 minutes long. That being said, the music in some is fantastic and typical NOFX.
February's 7" contained the furiously fast and bassy "Insulted By Germans (Again)" and "Fanmail". The first track is most noticably the better thanks to it's rocky feel. I mean, it has a little bass solo and a monologue from a German guy! "Fanmail" is a Dickies cover (I think), and again carries on that punk rock NOFX are great at. Beginning with a simple melody that leads into a solo straight into the song, it is a brilliant cover. You'll be singing "Fanmail!" in the chorus' along with Fat Mike very quickly. The music never loses it's fast pace either, which is good, even near the end when the instruments die down a little.
March's 7" was a weird one. The opener, "Arming The Proletariat With Potato Guns", is a 'live' 'song' in which the band play for short bursts, then tell offensive jokes to each other. It's an original track, and very funny to listen to ("Hey Hefe, what do you call four Mexicans in quicksand?" - "What?" - "Quatro Sink-o!" ). "I Am Going To Hell For This One" is one of the better tracks from the whole series, lasting 3 and a half minutes. It starts out slowly, but rushes into a song about Jesus and Mel Gibson. Genius lyrics taht entertain and fit the melodic music well ("Superstar, The Passion of/He wants his money, not your love" ). It ends with about a minute of instrumental music that sounds very down beat, but builds up and then fades away.
April's 7" began with a track from Fat Wreck Chord's Rock Against Floyd
promo sampler. "There's No Fun In Fundamentalism" is one of the faster songs from the series, lasting just under 2 minutes. It's punk riffs and insanely fast drumming, along with Fat Mike's fun lyrics make this a sure hit in the 7" songs. "Fungus" is the first real disappointment, at just over 1 minute long! It reminds me of songs from Heavy Petting Zoo
, and leads into another part of the song called "I Am A Huge Fan Of Bad Religion". Quite self-explanitory lyrics mixed with a slower paced melody.
May's 7" starts out with a quite offensive song. "Jamaica's Alright If You Like Homophobes" revistits NOFX's ska-punk style they used to do well. With lyrics like "Jamaica's alright, if you wanna get AIDS or dysentery", they don't rhyme and are quite random. The music is pretty funky though, with the occasional horn being used and a simple chord progression. "No Way" is a lot more upbeat and has some killer riffs and an awesome solo from El Hefe again. Catchy lyrics accompany this one again, although they aren't too clever. Then again, with music this amazing you don't need decent lyrics.
June's 7" begins with "Getting High On The Down Low", starting with a simple drum beat and simple strumming. This feels like a slowed down NOFX song, with a slower tempo but the same rhythms and solos being used. "You're Wrong" is simply beautiful. It's an acoustic anthem, with Fat Mike's political statements being viewed in every line ("You're wrong if you celebrate Columbus Day/And You're wrong if you think there will be a Judgement Day" ), and even has a little memento from the previous song. This is the first impressive 7" from them since the first one really, with both songs standing out well.
Ahhh, the final 7". July's issue starts out with "Leaving Jesusland", which is quite a dark song. Palm-muted, quite slowed down and Fat Mike's lyrics gives off an eerie feeling in the verses, but luckily the song builds up into standard NOFX heavy style in the chorus. The song is about 3 minutes, which is a nice treat as well. In the bridge, it gets slowed down a lot more and quite melodic. "Benny Got Blowed Up" makes up for the slower track before it with a funky poppy anthem. It's over-distorted and the bass is very loud, but that adds to this song's grittiness. It's a song about a man having too much fun and messing around, and then stepping on a bomb and getting blown up. Not the most thought-provoking, but I suppose NOFX are good at those style songs.
I can't say I'm too pleased with this series at the moment. There are some really good, standout tracks ("Insulted By Germans (Again)", "I Am Going To Hell For This One" amd "No Way" are all majorly brilliant tracks which make their 7"'s shine), but the 6 vinyls in this review are let down a little by some songs which simply put, could be a lot better ("Fungus and "Getting High On The Down Low" in particular need work). That being said, it's hard to find a poor song on these when you listen to them in a row. They flow beautifully, and NOFX's edgy riffs and fast drum beats are very standard and effortless to their regular album work.