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NOFX - Stoke Extinguisher

Swooshgazer   (7 reviews)

Posted: 02/18/2014 | Comments: 0 | Rate:

Does NOFX really need an introduction at this point?

That preface could probably lead off every review written about a NOFX record in the past 10-15 years. If you're somehow on Stereokiller and haven't heard this band, I implore you to drop what you're doing and remove your head from your ass, youngin'. Moving on...

NOFX's first indisputable classic, "Punk in Drublic", turns 20 this year, paving the way for a bunch of punks to shamelessly imitate and pay tribute to them (usually at the same time, and often times on Fat Mike's own Fat Wreck Chords). Since PiD, they've released 8,203 albums, 7 inches, and compilations (this is only a slight exaggeration) of varying quality, all the while functioning as the living, breathing example of punk rock in the eyes of Tony Hawk Pro Skater fans everywhere.

In that time period, NOFX also did drugs, and lots of them. Fat Mike, in particularly unabashed about his love for getting fucked up, became synonymous with "functional addict".

Unfortunately, not everyone is blessed with Ozzy Osbourne esque immortality. No Use for a Name frontman Tony Sly, longtime friend of NOFX and frequent Fat Wreck collaborator, died in his sleep last year. One half of the 7 inch release of Stoke Extinguisher is "The Shortest Pier", NOFX's tribute to a fallen friend.

The track is musically reminiscent of Coaster's "My Orphan Year", which served as Fat Mike's tribute to his late parents. This is a striking and stark contrast to the source material, as "The Shortest Pier" was written by Sly himself and featured on his "12 Step Program" record. Sly's version is a slow and haunting melodic masterpiece akin to what you'd hear on a Revival Tour stop. NOFX's version, while remaining faithful to the original, manages to sound more like a NOFX song than a cover of an acoustic ballad. The band certainly deserves credit for their take on what is, in my opinion, one of Sly's greatest songs.

"The Shortest Pier" is coupled here with title track "Stoke Extinguisher", a somber (by NOFX's standards, anyway) blast of punk rock 101 that features some of the band's more self loathing lyrics of the past decade ("Lunatic, the OG narcissistic, with a 'me' impotency, a perilous recipe...what the fuck is wrong with me?") and ends with a vintage Fat Mike/El Hefe call and response section that left this reviewer feeling the need to attempt a front flip off his couch. It's both refreshing and alarming that NOFX is still considerably better than their peers when playing melodic punk rock at tempos above 80 BPM.

The CD version of this release is filled out with four additional bsides from the past year or so. "Wore Out the Soles of My Party Boots" and "New Years Revolution" are both taken from the "Xmas Has Been X'ed!" 7 inch. The former tackles one of Mike's favorite topics of the past few NOFX records: becoming an old, disgruntled punk. One doesn't need to do much more than search on Youtube for "Cokie the Clown" to see this version of Fat Mike in action. Musically, this mid paced track is also reminiscent of a Coaster song ("First Call), but it's relatively forgettable aside from its insistence that you call Fat Mike a "fat fuck geriatric punk". I'm sure a few of you have already obliged this request.

The EP is rounded out by a demo version of Self Entitled's "I Believe in Goddess" that is almost identical to its finalized counterpart, albeit a somewhat looser take, and "My Stepdad's a Cop and My Stepmom's a Domme", taken from the 7 inch of the same name.

"My Stepdad's a Cop and My Stepmom's a Domme" is a breath of a fresh air on an otherwise humorless NOFX compilation. The track is a pretty straightforward piece of silliness that wouldn't of been out of place on "Pump Up the Valium" and features a pretty raucous key change and sing along in its final 20 seconds.

"Stoke Extinguisher" is pretty standard NOFX fare, folks. If you're a casual fan, there's nothing of substance here that you won't be able to find on their latest LP, but completists and Tony Sly fans should find this to be a worthy addition to their digital or vinyl collection.

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