New York '80s hardcore goofballs Murphy's Law usher in the '90s with a reinvigorated blast of their debauchery-laced brand of comedic punk. Stylistically, Murphy's Law makes quite a jump on The Best of Times. The band did dabble in skacore long before it exploded, but was always pretty much a flat-out hardcore unit in the '80s. The Best of Times finds Jimmy Gestapo and friends combining funk, reggae, ska, and hardcore into their own distinct brew, shedding any dogmatic restrictions applied to their ilk in the '80s. Production by Fishbone's John "Norwood" Fisher and Philip "Fish" Fisher lends authenticity and diversity to The Best of Times, as does the added instrumentation by several members of Fishbone. The result is a more versatile version of Murphy's Law at the prime of the band's fun-focused glory. Covers of James Brown and Stevie Wonder provide some insight into Murphy's Law's sometimes controversial and misunderstood affiliation with the skinhead faction, finally putting to rest any allegations that racism or fascism have anything to do with the band's outlook. Although the group manages to shed this stereotype and expand musically on The Best of Times, the subject matter doesn't otherwise stray too far from earlier work. Songs about pot, beer, girls, and cars showcase the glorious immaturity and quest for fun that pretty much define Murphy's Law. When the band does get serious, which isn't very often, it's in the interest of unity and friendship. The title track is basically a fan tribute, thanking a small but loyal group of followers for the support that's enabled Murphy's Law to continue the party. The ska-tinged but heavy "1%" revels in the outcast-minded punk rock ethos, giving nod to those who embrace the good and bad of surfing the fringe of culture and society. Classic Murphy's Law rage surfaces on "Harder Than Who," an attack on the mindless aggression and competition that sometimes rule the hardcore scene. On the whole, The Best of Times lives up to its title, with Murphy's Law celebrating its dedication to the band's fans, friends, and music, while maintaining the edge that gave the group its NYC hardcore credibility.
The Best of Times Review
by Paul Henderson