What’s an erstwhile punk to do? In the case of former Black Flag and Circle Jerks singer Keith Morris, it's form a blistering new band, Off!, to create some of the most hammering hardcore punk this side of 1979.
On Off!’s sophomore salvo, Wasted Years, Morris is abrasively backed by a bash’n’bang band that includes Redd Kross bassist Steven McDonald, Burning Brides guitarist Dimitri Coats (who also produced) and Rocket from the Crypt drummer Mario Rubalcaba.
The 15 terse tracks (which total 23 minutes) have a raw quality, partially because the music was taped straight to analog in Off!’s practice space and also due to the group’s expressive, undiffused rage.
That fury is echoed via Morris’ sharpened lyrics on tunes about our “sad democracy” (the scorching “Over Our Heads”), greed (the pummeling “All I Can Grab”) and fighting against obstacles (the hard-hitting “Time’s Not on Your Side”).
While old-punker nostalgia is part of the appeal, Off! proves experience matters. And Wasted Years demonstrates Morris and his cohorts are still full of snarl and shout.