Been living the dream for over a quarter of a century these Californians have been away for a while doing their own things from the Charger offerings from Matt to the various Lars projects as well as filling in on six-string duty at Oi! firms Last Resort and Tim has been doing everything from releasing a plethora of songs under his own steam to producing and everything in between it was heading into the territory of will they won’t they and had it been the latter that would have been a shame because Rancid has always been at their best when working as a collective be it the MTV big hits of ‘Wolves’ or the ska-influenced albums of ‘Life won’t Wait’ or the street punk anthems throughout their career Rancid as a band are an indomitable force and a top tier band absolutely no question about that. they’ve influenced a bazzillion bands along the way and always managed to turn in top records.
Signing with Epitaph Records, the band released their first album, “Rancid,” in 1993. Shortly thereafter, Lars Frederiksen (vocals, guitar) joined the band, The result, in 1994, was “Let’s Go.” maybe not the game changer quite yet but they were on their way and the seeds were sewn.
In 1995, Rancid released the classic platinum-selling “…And Out Come The Wolves.” You still remember when you first heard it or saw one of the videos on MTV. Some punks said it was selling out but what do they know. Its still a classic.
They followed it up with the unbelievably good and more ambitious “Life Won’t Wait” in 1998, and in 2000, Rancid released another album entitled “Rancid,” a step to the left and a ski to the right it was pure Rancid yet different from its predecessors.
After “Indestructible” in 2003, Branden Steineckert (drums) joined to solidify Rancid’s current line-up. They subsequently released the albums “Let The Dominos Fall” (2009), “Honor Is All We Know” (2014), and “Trouble Maker” (2017). Thats some CV right? Right!
Fast forward to 2023 and Rancid has matured into exactly what they’ve always been, trading vocals on the opening title track is a blast. Bristling with energy and thundering along with all the Rancid elements present and correct. Its like Motorhead on the solos thundering along with pace and energy a plenty welcome home Rancid we’ve missed you.
There isn’t any sitting back and coasting as ‘Mud, Blood and Gold’ is picking up the batton and galloping off into the sunset. All the songs are short, sharp and packing from the galloping ‘New American’ where Tim sounds like Shane McGowan on cheap amphetamins and even cheaper guitars licking the melody around the speakers.
There are sixteen bangers on offer here and pulling all their collective talents together must be quite the task but having had time away from the mothership has made them leaner and more focussed as ‘Don’t Mak Me Do It’ thunders along. ‘Live Forever’ is tapping into the Ramones part of the brain that genuine punks have at their disposal and Rancid do it very well thank you.
‘Magnificent Rogue’ has a little more of that Lemmy full pelt going on from the Bass rumble to the guitar lick. The fact there is no room at this particular inn for the band to change gears with a little reggae or some skanking ska is fine by me except to say that throughout sixteen songs it is relentless with no quarter given nor taking their collective foot off the gas for 99.9% of this record. Hopefully the next Rancid record wont be a decade away and they will unleash the full diversity of their songwriting there but until then the here and now is full tilt Rancid and that call for a toast – turn it up and play it loud this is Rancid putting on their shit kickers and kicking some shit. Bosh! Rancid are in the house and taking no prisoners.