NOFX Reheat the Leftovers on Uneven 'Double Album'

BY Ian GormelyPublished Dec 1, 2022

Do you trust NOFX

It's the kind of question we reflexively ask ourselves whenever we encounter new music: "Do I believe what this artist is saying? Am I picking up what they're putting down?"

For many years, NOFX fans could emphatically say "yes!" — such was the goodwill that the band had built up. The band, for their part, seem to disagree with this assessment. "Don't count on me / 'Cause I'm the worst," they sing on their new (and final?) record, Double Album. And lately, Fat Mike, El Hefe, Eric Melvin and Erik Sandin seem to be doing everything they can to hammer this point home: tasteless-even-for-them-jokes (they apologized), pissing-in-fan's-drinks (they didn't actually) and subsequent club bannings abound. The list of discomfiting news stories seems to grow every year. 

Double Album will do little to counter that. Billed as equal parts leftovers from their previous record, Single Album ("The songs on Double Album aren't quite as good," reads the press release), and the group's swan song, it expertly follows through on the first promise in a way that their long list of self-deprecating song and album titles (I Heard They Suck Live!!, "All Outta Angst") only hinted at. 

Pulling from many of the same themes as its predecessor — Fat Mike's sobriety, gender identity and interpersonal relationships in particular — the record doesn't put up much of an argument that the band's initial editing instincts were wrong. 

Self-aware to a fault, Fat Mike brands himself "My Favourite Enemy" one of the record's best songs, while "Alcopollack" and "Johanna Constant Teen" respectively pay tribute to the band's tour manager and a dominatrix who briefly lived with Fat Mike. Nothing about these songs is especially groundbreaking. Musically, everything falls into the usual NOFX wheelhouse, but the playing feels a little less urgent, the tempos less frenetic. Lyrically, they lack a lot of the contrarian wit that Fat Mike, a living example of the "you're not wrong, you're just an asshole" meme, can often bring to the table. 

But then there's "Is It Too Soon If Time Is Relative," a cruel and totally unnecessary takedown of late physicist Stephen Hawking that boasts shockingly lazy lyrics like, "Being Stephen must be kind of a drag / It looks like even his teeth are startin' to sag." To paraphrase Fat Mike's own words elsewhere on the record, the "laugh-to-joke ratio is about one in eight." This time he's both wrong and an asshole. 

Which brings us to that second promise: is this really the end of NOFX? 

A pair of records increasingly bereft of new ideas, coupled with Fat Mike's tumultuous personal life and new band, would make this an obvious end point for one of punk's GOAT groups. Single and Double Album aren't great, but they're also not complete washes. Quitting while the going's (barely) good ensures the band's legacy isn't tainted by even worse latter day decisions. 

Then again, breaking up is the oldest play in the rock 'n' roll handbook, and the promise of a big payday to reunite is often enough to mend even the most bitter of rifts. In many ways, it would be the most NOFX thing to do, pulling the rug out from under fans and becoming the ultimate "Punk Rock Cliché," which also happens to be one of Double Album's better tunes. 

So, do you trust NOFX? 
(Fat Wreck Chords)

Tour Dates

Latest Coverage