Bottles to the Ground

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Four songs in under nine minutes may seem a bit brief, but no group can better slam home their point in that minimal time than NOFX. The quartet has honed themselves to such a razor-sharp edge that it's virtually impossible for them to put a foot wrong, and Bottles to the Ground epitomizes everything that's right about the band. Lyrically, the group's forte lies in their effectively addressing both individual concerns as well as larger societal issues. The title track epitomizes the former. A melancholy examination of problem drinking, or as melancholy as NOFX can get within their exuberant sound, the track plays the lyrical warning off against a pounding beat and ominous guitar riff, all hammered home by the singalong chorus. In contrast is the deliciously nasty "Dinosaurs Will Die," a scathing attack on the music industry and the bands willing to play by its rules. Even though it slams by at warp speed, there's no missing the musical digs, as NOFX splatters the song with classic rock riffs, rhythms, and guitar leads. Both these songs appeared on the Pump Up the Valium album; "Lower" and "My Name Is Bud" are new and round out the NOFX lexicon. The former perfectly encapsulates the band's sound, with its signature clattering along like a locomotive beat and soaring, searing guitars. That just leaves their equally notable hardcore roar, which "Bud" slams down with particular fervor. A winning combination of themes, humor, styles, and passion, Bottles may be a mere stopgap until the next album, but it's a winner nonetheless.

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