NOFX – Regaining Unconsciousness EP

NOFX
Regaining Unconsciousness EP

Perhaps in an effort to curb pirating efforts, Fat Wreck will not be releasing any advance copies of NOFX’s forthcoming full-length, The War on Errorism. Instead, they are offering up this four-song effort, Regaining Unconsciousness, which includes three songs that will appear again on the album and one that will not. The songs from this EP and the forthcoming full-length were inspired largely by the 2000 presidential election, and the lyrical content is a pretty obvious attack on the president we got as a result of that election. These days, many of the bands we refer to as “punk” are busy singing songs about girls and growing up, so something like this should be welcomed with open arms. And with the more recent developments in the political climate of the world, the material could hardly be more relevant. At chaotic political times such as these, who better to guide us than punk legends who have been bitching about the government for years now?
“Medio-Core” kicks things off as a rant about the state music is currently stuck in. It begins as a mid-tempo and reggae-tinged number before slowly building into the blazing punk these guys are best known for, then proceeding to bounce back and forth for the remainder of the song. “Idiots are Taking Over” is a venom-filled political rant right from the start, opening with the line, “It’s not the right time to be sober / Because now the idiots have taken over / Spreading like a social cancer / Is there an answer?” It puts the band’s ridiculously tight punk skills in the spotlight, slowing down midway through for a moment, just before erupting again.
“Franco Un-American” is one of the more poppy tracks these guys have written in some time, but before you go thinking “What the hell is NOFX doing writing pop songs?” keep in mind that if all the “pop-punk” bands sounded like this, we would all be a lot better off. The song paints an amusing picture of a kid who wakes up from his apathy and is disgusted with what he finds: “I never looked around, never second-guessed / Then I read some Howard Zinn, now I’m always depressed / And now I can’t sleep because of years of apathy / All because I read a little Noam Chomsky.” Finally, we come to “Hardcore 84,” the one track here that won’t be available on the forthcoming album. It is the least interesting track of the four, and it clocks in at less than two minutes. Chugging away like the band’s earlier and grittier work, it isn’t a bad song, it just seems a bit predictable, though it certainly adds a nice little shot of adrenaline as the closer. Then, if you hold on past a moment or two of silence, you’ll come to a funny little advertisement for the upcoming album, including commentary, song snippets, and, as expected with these guys, a few jokes.
The whole thing runs for less than 13 minutes, but the band sounds more mature now than ever, which they would probably take as an insult. The production is wonderful, from some playful effects splashed here and there, to Fat Mike’s voice sounding better than ever. As mentioned, three of the four tracks will be available on the band’s forthcoming album, which makes it tough to decide whether this is worth picking up, but for diehard fans in need of a quick fix before that album comes, it certainly is. Either way, May 6, the release date for The War on Errorism, is one that any punk fan should have marked on his or her calendar.