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Off! Jack Pudwell , May 18th, 2012 08:12

Having undoubtedly witnessed many of his original peers from California's hardcore punk scene ride ungracefully into their 50s purely on the coattails of nostalgia and former glory, it's genuinely refreshing to see Keith Morris immerse himself within a project that sees him sounding just as youthfully petulant, if not more so, than he was on his most lauded work with Black Flag and the Circle Jerks over 30 years ago. By teaming up with the likes of Dimitri Coats and Mario Rubalcaba (of Burning Brides and Rocket From The Crypt/Hot Snakes fame, respectively), Morris has meticulously put together the perfect vehicle from which to spew forth his ever-flowing, all-encompassing stream of venomous sewage, and the stream has become evermore potent on the group's new self-titled record.

In all honesty, it's somewhat difficult to wax lyrical about OFF!, but that's no bad thing. Its very nature dictates that you don't. What the group have produced here is a furious slab of hardcore punk so terrifyingly urgent and precise that it practically stonewalls the record from almost any criticism. While this record may pick up immediately from where their last full-length First Four EPs left off, to call OFF! more of the same would be somewhat reductive.

The sheer, unrelenting volatility may be slightly lacking in comparison to the debut but, almost as a natural substitute, their consistently formidable songwriting chops have been pushed to the forefront of the record, making the songs infinitely more memorable. You'll be pleasantly surprised by just how brutally catchy a refrain consisting of a fifty-six-year-old punk shouting "TOXIC BOX!" over and over again can be.

As a record that barely hits the sixteen minute mark, OFF! possesses no pretensions, no delusions of grandeur and next to no ambitions, yet it makes absolutely no apologies for that. The group have once again proven themselves to be so intensely perverse that their unyielding foulness commands both your immediate attention and unwavering respect.

This is an album that knows just how toxically repellent it is and it's this self-assured ferocity that makes for such an enjoyable whirlwind of a listen. Morris' surly, embittered attitude to almost everything may occasionally err upon the Kevin Patterson side of things, but if his obvious case of Peter Pan syndrome ensures that he continues to produce records like OFF! for the foreseeable future, we hope he never grows up.