Often controversial and always entertaining, NOFX has done it again with Coaster, their 11th studio album, and one that shows they’re moving forward with the sound and style they have perfected over their 25-year history as a band.
Clocking in at right around a half-hour, Coaster is like a joke we’ve all heard before, but is so funny that we never get tired of hearing. It’s standard NOFX, and if anything a throwback to older NOFX, with a general outlook on the world and life that is the making of a black comedy – full of biting humor and a bleak outlook that has you laughing from beginning to end, whether it’s out of finding something funny or simply getting uncomfortable.
Standard NOFX Fare
The themes are typical for NOFX, consisting of political songs, songs against religion, simply funny, yet patently offensive tunes, and songs about alcohol and drugs. Really, it’s nothing new, but at the same time it’s exactly what one expects from a band that has made controversial lyrics their forte, without ever letting it get stale.
Coaster opens with "We Called it America," a fast political punk tune that opens with the bleak line “Remember when America had a middle class and an upper class? That was way before the exodus.” It’s standard political fare for the band, a theme revisited later on “Suits and Ladders,” another whirlwind of a song that lashes out both musically and lyrically as it attacks classes.
On the anti-religious front, Coaster offers up “Blasphemy (The Victimless Crime)” and “Best God In Show.” Again, these are perfectly crafted songs from NOFX with the NOFX standard sound. They’re really enjoyable, you know, provided your very being isn’t offended.
When NOFX is simply being funny is when they really excel. This happens on tunes like the new wave-inspired “Creeping out Sara,” a song relating a meeting between Fat Mike and Sara, or possibly Tegan, of the well-known singing sisterly duo, backstage at a show. If Mike’s story is to be believed, he simply doesn’t know when to quit in a conversation, until he “creeped out Sara.” Another hilarious tune is “Bruce, Eddie and Paul,” which relates the breakup of Iron Maiden from a rather crass point of view.
The humor continues with the driving beats of “First Call” and the loungy “I Am an Alcoholic” (which features some nice trumpet work from El Jefe), songs that serve to present Fat Mike’s self-destructive habits in a self-deprecating, yet humorous light.
The one surprising tune is “My Orphan Year,” a song in which Fat Mike sings about the deaths of both his parents in 2006, and the feelings he had for each of them growing up. It’s a big surprise to hear Mike present a personal song that is introspective and not about alcohol-fueled exploits. It seems so cathartic that it’s almost uncomfortable to hear, but a strong tune nonetheless.
For anyone who’s ever been into NOFX at any point over the years, you’ll really enjoy every second of this all too brief gem of a record. It’s not new, but it doesn’t have to be. For those who are new to the game, be warned; NOFX doesn’t care if they offend you, and odds are, if you get offended, you’ll end up feeling all the dumber for it.
Release Date: April 28, 2009