Sound: NoFX remains a band that divides opinion of punks, but there should be no denying the band members' dedication to their trade, realised by the amassing of many hard to come by tracks in one place. This is both accessible and cheap. NoFX has got it right.
NoFX's sound is often referred to almost paradigmatically as the epitome of the modern punk genre. In any case, The Longest EP doesn't retain the sound of an EP, namely because it's a 30 track compilation of NoFx's many EPs over the years. For that reason one might be forgiven for being overcome by the number of tracks on this compilation. For instance, you get the entirety of The Longest Line EP, amongst others, and fortunately, the songs are not ordered chronologically. This gives the album a party mix feel, reinforced by the album art work.
The Longest EP provides the listener an intriguing journey through NoFX's financial budget. Songs from The P.M.R.C Can Suck on This such as Shut Up Already retain their youthful, snotty charm, reminding the listener of the band's humble beginnings. The Longest Line EP, as previously mentioned, is included in its entirety. A pivotal EP in NoFX's history, The Longest Line EP introduced both lead guitarist El Hefe and his talents to NoFX fans. It's no surprise that the largely palm muted The Longest Line and the more abrasive Stranded remain highlights of this compilation that could easily be included on any NoFX fan's burned greatest hits album.
This compilation showcases one of punk's most talented and diverse bands. Dislike what they do with their talent? That's fine, but there's no doubting the skilfully executed ska sprinkled Jaw Knee Music or the uncompromising nature of Concerns of a GOP Neo-phyte, a perfectly melded pop punk song with a political message that could just as easily be conveyed by the coarse guitar dynamics of El Hefe and Eric Melvin. This is a song that, like so many others here perhaps should have made their way onto full length albums. // 8
Lyrics: Fat Mike: Lyricist Extraordinaire or clichd teenage wordsmith? I, myself, like to sit on the fence regarding this question, but for the sake of this review I'll stick my neck out. Fat Mike is arguably obnoxious and perhaps conceited at times. His antics as Cokie the Clown (and even when he isn't doing his best Heath Ledger Joker spoof) are often somewhat deplorable, but let's face it: should you not consider him to be a lyricist extraordinaire, he's at least an excellent teenage wordsmith. Perhaps in another possible world he is employed as an inventor of catchy propaganda for a tyrannical regime. That proposition might not sit well with him, but he's certainly got a way with words. I can't help but reserve a soft spot for Fat Mike. His lyrics prior to the Bush-Presidency might not be the politically charged vituperations of current events that they have become, but if they weren't political as we have come to expect, then they were never politically correct, which is political in a sense. // 7
Overall Impression: This is a compilation of 30 NoFX songs that can be purchased for a fraction of the price it would cost the new or casual listener to collect the entirety of NoFX's EPs. Cokie the Clown is an excellent song, and if you, like me, had not heard it before its release on this album as a result of not owning a turntable, then there are plenty more songs where Cokie the Clown came from. // 9
- Sam Agini (c) 2010