[9 November 2010]
NOFX last cleaned out their vault in 2002, with the compilation 45 or 46 Songs That Weren’t Good Enough to Go on Our Other Records. But even that massive collection didn’t completely assemble all of the band’s non-album tracks. The Longest EP attempts to rectify that by putting 30 songs from NOFX’s various EPs together in one place. It also seems to be a cost-cutting measure for the band’s own Fat Wreck Chords label. By putting this material together on a single album, they’re letting the individual releases they came from all go out of print.
This is a scattershot compilation that varies wildly in style, production value, and song quality. That’s to be expected when you’re collecting alternate takes, songs that were cut from albums, and tossed-off jokey tracks. Even more telling, the songs here come from an incredible 22-year spread, encompassing everything from 1987’s The PMRC Can Suck on This to 2009’s Cokie the Clown. Any NOFX fan worth their salt will recognize a good portion of these songs, but it’s nice to have them all in one place. The more recent material tends to be better, including the great 2003 outtake “Glass War” and the reference-filled “Jaw Knee Music”. But even ‘92’s “The Longest Line” and “Kill All the White Man” have punch. The PMRC tracks are pretty bad, but it’s interesting to hear the band circa 1987, especially as they run through a terrible cover of “Johnny B. Goode”. As usual with compilations of this sort, it’s a fans-only affair. This isn’t the kind of album that’s going to win over many NOFX neophytes, but longtime fans of the band will be quite satisfied.