As a follow-up to NOFX’s previous live effort, I Heard They Suck Live, this album seems like a sequel more akin to Rocky V than Rocky II. It’s not that They’ve Actually Gotten Worse fails to entertain—standouts include a new up-tempo version of Punk in Drublic’s acoustic number “Scavenger Type,” and a studio-album-perfect rendition of “Stickin’ in my Eye.” But, overall, the latest from these aged-punks falls short because of questionable track selection, dominated by a bunch of C-sides that only the most dedicated fans would recognize.
You will hear aspects of NOFX’s live show, such as the group’s distaste of the Bush administration (the track “Franco Un-American”) and humor (a bit on the difference between Jerry Garcia and Adolf Hitler being that Hitler doesn’t have an ice cream flavor). What’s missing, however, are the tried and true sing-a-longs that make live albums worthwhile, like “The Brews” and “Linoleum.”
That’s why to fully understand NOFX’s live appeal, one should mix They’ve Actually Gotten Worse with some tracks from the foursome’s original live record. Unless of course you’re already a fan, in which case you should just add this to your collection, no questions asked. (Patrick Duganz)
NOFX plays the Wilma Theatre Sunday, May 4, at 8 PM. Sold out.