Album Review: Fat Mike – Fat Mike Gets Strung Out

5/5

While NOFX are busy ending their time together as a band, Fat Mike sees himself moving on to other things and different projects, from opening Punk Rock Museum, starting Bottles To The Ground, Codefendants, a band featuring Sam King and Ceschi, even an underwear brand. One could wonder how he found time to compose a classical album of ten songs. This album has one sitting with a glass of wine or whisky and enjoying something one probably wouldn’t have seen coming.

Now, Fat Mike and I usually don’t go hand in hand. While a NOFX fan, I tend to take a backseat on something Fat Mike appears on because I don’t want to mess with his fans. But I enjoy it when artists like Fat Mike go beyond their limits, and there’s no doubt about his creative genius on Fat Mike Gets Strung Out.

“Life… Oh What A Drag,” originally from Home Street Home: Original Songs From The Shit Musical, delivers a dramatically beautiful string quartet of violins, cellos, and viola that harmonize so well that the hairs on your neck stand up. I’m not taking a dig at the original version when I say this, and I’m not saying it lightly: it stands out on the album and serves much better than the original version.

Another number, “The Art Of Protest,” catches a desperate emotion in the song’s beginning, where one gets caught up in the cello bow moving across the strings. The sudden innocence of the tender piano before the instruments creates an intense mix. “Fuck Day Six” from Double Album sits differently when it’s purely instrumental. It’s a haunting piece that one returns to.

There’s a saying that “Beauty can be found in everything.” And Fat Mike Gets Strong Out proves once and for all that’s true. Fat Mike and Baz have managed to turn punk songs into something more. The more is the ability to enjoy classic NOFX songs without swearing and loud guitars and drums at a cozy dinner party. But the more also being that after 40 years making music, one can go in a different direction and create something hauntingly beautiful and calm. But in all fairness, Fat Mike isn’t your average Joe. And when I earlier mentioned creative genius, I believe Fat Mike pulled off Fat Mike Gets Strung Out beyond my wildest expectations.

You can buy the album here.

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