First Ditch Effort
Fat Wreck Chords
Do NOFX need any introduction? after over thirty years, thirteen studio albums and countless EP’s, singles and splits, they have brought us another thirteen tracks on their latest album, First Ditch Effort. This is a deeply personal album, more so than any of their previous recordings, whilst NOFX have shifted lyrically they have retained the character and style that’s been the hallmark of their past releases. First Ditch Effort is an album that couldn’t have come from any other band, and that is meant is a compliment as NOFX have produced one of the best albums of their career with their latest release.
Six Years On Dope opens the album in fine NOFX style, ninety seconds of the kind of blistering opening we’ve all come to know and love, Happy Father’s Day brings a more staccato blast before we get into the first of the classic NOFX tunes on this album, the superb conspiracy theory number Sid and Nancy, and it’s not long before the next one arrives in Oxy-Moronic. Pretty much every track hits the mark, there’s a heartfelt tribute to the much missed Tony Sly on I’m So Sorry Tony before the album ends in epic style with Generation Z. First Ditch Effort carries all the elements of a great NOFX album, musically it spans everything from hardcore to pop punk, the subject matter is everything you’d hope for, there’s the irreverent humour, and the politics are of course present, and it must be pointed out not many bands manage to make succinct political points without once being po-faced about it.
You can hear the impact that the writing of Home Street Home, Fat Mike‘s punk musical, has had on First Ditch Effort, for me it’s added another dimension to their songwriting. Whilst much of the subject matter may be darker, this is an element that’s always been present at on their albums in the past, but not as much to the forefront as it is on this release. First Ditch Effort comes across as a more mature album, I know sometimes that a band maturing means that the fun has been sucked out of them, but this isn’t the case with First Ditch Effort. The humour is still present that always been inherent in their lyrics, but there’s a darker element to the writing, subjects such as self loathing, self identity and personal morality come to the fore, without the album ever once becoming mawkish, and that is an achievement all on it’s own.
If you’re a fan of NOFX the odds are that you’ve all already ordered this and you won’t have been disappointed, this is as good as almost every other NOFX album, for me it falls slightly short of my personal favourite, The War On Errorism, but if you’re a long term fan of NOFX, and I am unashamedly amongst that number since White Trash, Two Heebs And a Bean was released twenty something years ago, then you need this album, and you need it now. NOFX are now well into their fourth decade, but they are still showing that an album can be made without any compromise, barring something ridiculously good being released in the next few months this will in all probability be the best album that I hear this year.
First Ditch Effort can be ordered from Fat Wreck Chords here