Album Review: NOFX – ‘Last Ditch Effort’

Deon LaSalle reviews the new NOFX record, Last Ditch Effort.

PHOTO: Joe Leonard

LOS ANGELES, December 16, 2017 —Punk rock legends NOFX are back with a new album on Fat Wreck Chords, “First Ditch Effort,” which came out October 7 and is already one of the biggest punk albums of 2016. It is a bit different from their typical sound, but it’s still amazingly great and stands out in an awesome way.

Most of the song topics are more serious and dark, like “Six Years On Dope,” “I Don’t Like Me Anymore,” “Generation Z,” and, “I’m So Sorry, Tony,” which is a tribute to their deceased friend and No Use For A Name front man Tony Sly who passed away back in 2012. NOFX still has some fun, goofy songs, like “Sid And Nancy,” “California Draught,” “Oxy Moronic,” and “Transvest-lite.”

The best track by far is “Bye, Bye Biopsy Girl,” which has a very unique intro and a catchy chorus to which is easy to sing along. Another notable change in their sound is the guitar tone. They no longer have the metal-type sound they had on classic albums like “Punk In Drublic,” “Heavy Petting Zoo,” and “So Long & Thanks For All The Shoes.” Also, there are no super fast songs this time around.

The tunes still have their epic trademark intensity, energy, and velocity as their earlier work just at slower tempos. A lot times bands will want to make a change a little bit after being around for a long time due to big life events in which they will write more serious lyrics and a desire to make a change from the same routine in which they want to explore new realms musically. This is not a bad thing at all.

Musicians grow up and mature just like the rest of us. “First Ditch Effort” is very experimental in the sound department. It is sort of the melodic punk equivalent of “In Utero” by Nirvana.

The album also features session work by fellow punk rock musicians Karina Denike of Dance Hall Crashers , Joey Cape of Lagwagon, Fletcher Dragge of Pennywise, Chris Shiflett of Foo Fighters and Brian Baker of Bad Religion.

“First Ditch Effort” is an instant punk classic. One for fans to really enjoy with well crafted instrumentation, catchy song lyrics, and mesmerizing grooves to hold your attention. You will want to listen to it over and over again. Each time it sounds even better than the last time you heard it. It grows on you.

The album was incredibly produced by Fat Mike and Cameron Webb, and recorded to perfection. It is clear a lot of effort was put in to making this spectacular album. Fans should give this album a chance and buy it. They will not regret their purchase at all.

—Written by Deon LaSalle

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