Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Rancid’s name alone provokes immediate, visceral disgust. It embodies the punch-in-the-gut, intentional provocativeness the band has exploited for the past 18 years. But that great, gritty disgusting-ness is starting to fade.
It’s not like all punk bands sell out, but sometimes I wish they did instead of falling into the gutter, worn and beaten, mere shadows of their former selves (Against Me!, for example, manages to rock on New Wave even after signing to a major label).
When a band has written some of the 80’s and 90’s best ska and punk songs, how can it expect fans to be satisfied with a new releases that does little besides showcase how far it’s fallen? After writing such greats as “Maxwell Murder” and “Ruby Soho,” Rancid’s June 2nd release, Let The Dominoes Fall, just doesn’t cut it.
Maybe the record is aptly named for a band that had all their pieces fixed perfectly in place, but found solace in letting it all fall apart and starting again; but I wouldn’t give them that much credit. From the get go, “East Bay Night” sounds like a blatant knock-off of any of The Bouncing Souls’ releases from the past few years. The following track, “This Place,” brings out the teenage angst of a 42 year old punk-rocker.
Punk rock is played by the kids, for the kids, but there is no written rule that says a middle-aged set of men can’t continue to play their particular style of it. They’ve done it well up until now, even with 2003’s Indestructible. But the angst seems tired, and so do the voices. Tim Armstrong and company’s “woah-oh-ohs” seem like gentle yawns as they fade away into a slumber. The single “Last One To Die” fits this theme perfectly, as they preach “we’re still around” followed by a chant of the song title.
There are 19 tracks, so there’s bound to be something that someone will enjoy on here (maybe the ‘shimmy-shimmy-shake’ of “L.A. River” is good for more than just a laugh to someone out there). But you’d be doing yourself a bigger favor by just listening to …And Out Come the Wolves instead.
Head over to their MySpace to listen to the Bouncing So—err, Rancid song “East Bay Night,” and that song about how they’re unwilling to stop playing music.