Having only been a band for the better part of a year and a half, …
Is a bromance still a bromance when there’s more than two participants? In the case of Frank Turner and NOFX, absolutely, and a bromance like no other.
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The long admiration, fun, and friendship between both artists is well-known, and it comes to an official climax in an audible reciprocation, West Coast Vs. Wessex. The album sees American punk-rock stalwarts NOFX take on five of English folk-punk singer/songwriter Frank Turner’s songs, and vice versa, in this collaborative cover release.
Die-hard Turner and NOFX fans may question each group’s choice of covers–there are always better songs that could be approached—but in choosing some of each other’s best-known tracks, you don’t lose the identity of either artist, you witness a respectful and revitalised homage, gaining from the enhancement and unique ingenuity of blending the two styles of music together.
… you’ll find one of the best matched collaborations that either group has ever taken on.
What NOFX do is not only reimagine Turner’s style–as in Substitute and Worse Things Happen At Sea, where the original crisp harmonies and delicate dance of finger picking is jacked up with rollicking riffs and spitting lyrics—they’re demonstrating an appreciation of Turner’s character and musicality and showing how that works with their own boisterous playing style and personalities.
NOFX delivers far from only jacked up double time renditions of Turner’s work. They, and Turner for that matter, have taken the time to play with the possibilities of each other’s work, emulating admiration and meticulously addressing potential elemental nuances in each song.
Turner, taking on NOFX bangers like Eat The Meek and Falling In Love, sees the singer/songwriter encapsulate the energy of NOFX’ rambunctious SoCal punk with his own sometimes delicate musical stylings. Though he leans heavily on much of NOFX’ earlier material, Turner brings new ideas to the table and pulls it off very well, surprising with just how well he can project sentiments of aggression and disdain and yet retain that folkish aspect of his performing style.
Granted, in the vocal department there’s a lot that Turner achieves that NOFX can’t. Instead, NOFX vocalist Fat Mike works in some of his own creative ideas, embellishing a melody here, changing a key there, – but it’s not about replicating a song to a tee–a cover means just that. It’s meant as a tribute, an influence on one band’s creative ideas by another, and here, you find that.West Coast Vs. Wessex is a novelty. A rich, interesting, fun novelty. It might look strange on the cover, but pop it open and you’ll find one of the best matched collaborations that either group has ever taken on.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Thatcher Fucked The Kids, Glory Hallelujah, Eat The Meek
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