A.V. Club Most Read

News Newswire Great Job, Internet!
TV Club All Reviews What's On Tonight
Video All Video A.V. Undercover A.V. Cocktail Club Film Club
Reviews All Reviews Film TV Music Books
Features All Features TV Club Wiki Wormhole
Sections Film Tv Music Food Comedy Books Games Aux
Our Company About Us Contact Advertise Privacy Policy Careers RSS
Onion Inc. Sites The Onion The A.V. Club ClickHole Onion Studios

Off With Their Heads: In Desolation


Off With Their Heads

Album: In Desolation
Label: Epitaph

Community Grade (3 Users)

  • A
  • A-
  • B+
  • B
  • B-
  • C+
  • C
  • C-
  • D+
  • D
  • D-
  • F

Your Grade


Nothing is more clichéd than accusing a punk band of sounding too slick. Sometimes, though, it’s a valid charge—especially if the band has built its entire appeal on unvarnished emotion and bloody-nosed immediacy. Off With Their Heads’ punk anthems have always felt like gut-punches, but on their Epitaph debut, In Desolation, there’s too much padding breaking the blows. Unlike From The Bottom, the Minneapolis band’s 2008 release, In Desolation is sanded-down, note-perfect, and cushioned by a barrier of perfectly sculpted distortion. That distance puts a damper on Ryan Young’s hoarse, crude confessionals: “The face that you see from the morning to night / is the mask that I put on to hide what’s inside / I don’t take it off until you fall asleep / I don’t want you to see what lives inside of me,” he growls on the disc’s closing track, “Clear The Air.” But where such a sentiment might have been felt, here it’s only heard, as if it were coming from another room. The upside is, the band has crafted another solid set of fat-free, bittersweet hooks, though they aren’t as catchy as From The Bottom’s. And Young’s chiseled vignettes about love, loss, and self-loathing continue to favorably resemble a brattier yet gloomier Against Me! Here’s hoping that next time, OWTH packs more sharp jabs and less muffled thuds.