Reviews

No Use for a Name, Rarities Vol. 1: The Covers (Fat Wreck Chords, 2017)

It's hard to believe it's been five years since the tragic passing of No Use for a Name vocalist/guitarist Tony Sly. Rarities Vol. 1: The Covers is a new compilation celebrating the Bay Area pop-punk band's best cover tracks.

The song selection doesn’t betray Tony and company’s age bracket, as many of the original versions of the songs first appeared in the ‘80s, when the members of NUFAN were in their formative years.

Rarities opens up with The Vapors’ new wave staple, “Turning Japanese,” a song with an infectious chorus that seems tailor-made for a pop-punk transformation. “Hybrid Moments” is a great choice, with the band keeping close to the original Misfits arrangement. On Dag Nasty’s “I’ve Heard,” Tony tears into the vocal with a style reminiscent of Dave Smalley’s hardcore-informed approach. 

Elsewhere on the album, both Social Distortion’s “1945” and D.I.’s “Johnny’s Got a Problem” (recorded here as “Selwyn’s Got a Problem”) pay tribute to NUFAN’s SoCal punk influences. Classic American television gets some love thanks to “Making Our Dreams Come True” (Laverne & Shirley) and “The Munsters’ Theme,” while Depeche Mode’s haunting synthpop smash “Enjoy the Silence” gets turned into Fat Wreck anthem towards the end of the album.

The best cover NUFAN ever released is wisely included on Rarities in the shape of The Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York” which I first fell in love with on the band’s More Betterness album. Of the songs featured on the new compilation, I think the punked-up take on Sublime’s “Badfish” is probably my favorite, and that's saying something since I'm not much of a fan of the original band/version.

If you're a NUFAN fan, I can assure you that Rarities is a great addition to your collection.

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Tagged: no use for a name

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