British folk-punk troubadour Frank Turner has apparently never heard a song he didn’t love. Whereas American pop-punk troublemakers NOFX have apparently never heard a song they didn’t love to fuck with.
You might think that makes them a poor match for a split covers album. But you’d be wrong. The 10-track West Coast vs. Wessex is an unexpectedly enjoyable meeting of musical minds that allows both artists to express their admiration for the other while also expressing themselves. Fat Mike and co. turbocharge a handful of Turner’s early, earnest numbers into the ramshackle snot-rocket anthems that have always been their stock in trade. Turner transforms an equal number of NOFX’s frantically fast firecrackers from the ’90s into melodic, heartfelt roots gems that are his specialty. Remarkably, a good time is had by all — expect for the humourless purists in their fan clubs, perhaps. For those without a stick up the ass, it’s a knock-out.
THE PRESS RELEASE: “Just how often does the leader of one of your favorite bands ask you to do a split album? One where his band covers your songs? It’s the situation Frank Turner found himself in last year, when Fat Mike of NOFX asked if he wanted to do a split covers album. “And I shit the bed and said, ‘Fucking of course I do! That sounds incredible’,” Turner recalls. West Coast Vs. Wessex does sound incredible: NOFX filtering five songs from Turner’s sizeable solo back catalogue through their singular sensibility, with Turner reciprocating to record five of his personal favorites from NOFX’s 37-years-and-counting career. But these aren’t simply double-time versions of Turner’s folk-punk tunes or acoustic re-workings of NOFX’s iconic SoCal punk anthems — both took time to play with the possibilities each other’s music presented. “Everything he picked was from the ’90s, so I took that as it’s okay to mostly do his early stuff too,” says Fat Mike, who channeled ‘90s NOFX for their interpretations.”