NOFX frontman Fat Mike has been writing a musical with the help of Jeff Marx and Soma Snakeoil. The result is Home Street Home, the tale of a 16-year old runaway who finds friends amongst more teenage runaways. The soundtrack is an eighteen track concept album featuring the vocal talents of, as you may suspect, Fat Mike and friends. Including Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba, Frank Turner, Lena Hall, Bad Cop/Bad Cop’s Stacey Dee, and the late Tony Sly. Topped off with music from Mad Caddies, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, The Living End, Descendents amongst others.
Unsurprisingly with a narrative of this sort, the core tone of the record is extremely heavy seeing as it draws from personal experiences from the authors. This is reflected in some tracks, especially in “Three Against Me” which is about abuse from brothers. With a slow piano melody, it drives the point home- leaving all the focus on the lyrics. A similar track is “Missing Child,” a mother’s plea for help in finding her missing daughter- which also features a slow piano melody along with strings.
However, the record also features much more upbeat tracks such as “Urban Campers” which is about homeless punks refusing to be brought down by their situation and “High Achievers,” which is about how all the greatest people in history, such as Ben Franklin, Jack Kerouac and Einstein were drug addicts in some way or another. Leading to the worryingly catchy hook of “When everybody is doing drugs, it makes the world a better place to be.”
Though it just wouldn’t be a Fat Mike project without some classic punk rock tracks. Tracks like “Because I Want To” and “Gutter Tarts” both fit well with the pent up aggression behind the lyrics of the tracks. The record’s final track is a version of “The Agony of Victory” from NOFX’s album Coaster performed by many of the artists featured on the album.
Overall, the record keeps things interesting with an unpredictable track listing such as when a fast punk track is followed by one of the two 40-second Frank Turner-fronted tracks played on the ukulele, which is then followed by a deep and moving song. The lyrics are largely not much new coming from Fat Mike- covering drug use and various sex acts. The tracks tackling suicide, abuse, and prostitution are very well delivered and carry weight. Though the overall narrative of the story can be a bit tricky to follow at times so we shall just have to wait for the stage show.
Rating: 7 Slices out of 8
Home Street Home is out on February 10th.