Some kids never grow up. Or, perhaps more accurately, some kids grow up in their politics, but perhaps not so much in their lyrical styling. Such is the case with proverbial punk rockers NOFX on its latest release, Wolves in Wolves Clothing. The tenth studio album finds Fat Mike and company once again up to their old tricks, fusing politics with absurdity and topping it off with a hefty helping of sophomoric humor.
NOFX is not going to win any new converts with Wolves in Wolves Clothing. But then again, with album- opening lyrics like, “I’m not here to entertain you,” it is fairly safe to say Fat Mike could care less. What NOFX has always been about – more so than being popular – is being current and cutting with its satire, and Wolves is both a great return to form and a worthy successor to 2003’s The War on Errorism. NOFX still has no love for President Dubya, who Fat Mike once referred to as “the idiot son of an asshole.” The Bush regime takes similar lashing in songs like “USA-holes,” in which Mike compares the current course of government to sitting back and helplessly watching a car crash. “Leaving Jesusland” royally skewers the inhabitants of the so called “red states.” Fat Mike touches on everything from religion to diet, singing, “I hate to generalize / But have you seen the thighs? / Most haven’t seen their genitalia in awhile” as he urges listeners to “punch new holes in the Bible Belt.” Sonically, NOFX sounds great as well. Songs like “Seeing Double at the Triple Rock” thrash and rock about as hard as any NOFX song ever has.
Wolves is much more direct than that other great political punk album of late, Green Day’s magnum opus American Idiot. For NOFX it works – at least for awhile. After 18 tracks, the concept wears a bit thin and midway through, the songs seem to blend together and loose any sort of originality that they had. Where The War on Errorism was both entertaining and disciplined, forming a tight but concise burn on the Bush Administration, Wolves in Wolves Clothing tends to drag – a cardinal sin in punk rock. But chances are Fat Mike won’t care – he doesn’t want to grow up, he’s a punk rock kid.
[Bradley Vargyas still plays with Barbies.]