The raw, snaking snarl is still there, but for some reason this batch of Off! material seems like more of a slog than their first two albums. Maybe we were expecting these guys to go harder or up the ante? Don’t ask me how (horn section?). Though a diminished return, Wasted Years still stands one or two heads above its various contemporaries. The difference between this album and last year’s unexpected Black Flag entry is the difference between our sleek Chris Evans Captain America of the 21st century and that messy 1990 Cap embarrassment with Matt Salinger. If there’s a war raging over the legacy of Hermosa Beach hardcore, Off! is currently ahead … but history will not crown them absolute victors unless their next strike is definitive, or at least marked by a more distinct character. Guys, seriously, think about the horn thing.
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