CD Stock Number: Hellcat B00004UEHL
Rancid became popular in the mainstream with their album Out Come The Wolves, but soon disappeared from the radio and returned to their true constituency. I considered them a very good band, but lacking compared to the band they emerged from, Operation Ivy. Rancid was fun, but nothing too serious. They were good at writing catchy pop punk songs and ska tunes that were a blast to sing along too and play at parties. That was about it as far as I was concerned.
I had to respect their move to release this album on their own independent label with little to no publicity. It showed that they were trying to return to their roots and not sell out like some of the more popular punk bands have (cough [Offspring]) so I decided to give it a listen after been recommended it by a few people at a show. At first, I didn't really know what to make of it. About half of the album is pretty much what we expect from these cool dudes. Pop punk songs with a good beat and catchy, simple lyrics. Songs like "Ruby Soho" and "If the Kids are United" didn't become popular for their complexity or inspiring lyrics, they were upbeat punk songs with a little bit of rockabilly and ska rhythm thrown in for good measure. Rancid was reminiscent of what the Clash were often successful in doing, taking a raw, powerful, angry form of music and adding a certain refinement to it. This is only the story of half the album however. In other tracks, song lyrics lacked the musical flow they normally do and the composition seemed scatterbrained.
The pace was furious as always, but much more hardcore fused in and a certain overlying complex rhythm that takes getting used to. The lyrics are staggered and most have little to no chorus and therefore take a while to sink in. They remind me of the almost free form poetry you find in songs by more modern jazz musicians like Patricia Barber. Aside from that, the album has a very strong flow with nearly no transition time between songs, building energy as the album progresses. The album construction is reminiscent of a live concert actually. They hit you hard, and then they hit you harder. I am literally tired after listening to the whole CD, it's a great feeling.
This is the first album that Rancid has released that I felt let them step out of Operation Ivy's shadow. It's the perfect contrast with said band, proving that they aren't second rate to what was one of the best punk/ska bands of the 80s and have plenty of talent and imagination left for future endeavors. Strongly Recommended.
Sound Quality: 70