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ALBUM REVIEW: Rancid, Honor Is All We Know

  Jordi Castells @jcastells9 3 stars out of 5   “I’m back where I belong. I’ve been gone way too long and I’m back where I belong”. With this decree, Rancid kicks off Honor Is All We Know; their 8th studio album in their 21 year career, coming off a 5 year hiatus since 2009’s Let The Dominoes Fall. The album starts off strong, with the previously mentioned chorus shouted out “Oi-style” by Tim Armstrong and Lars Frederiksen on a song that could feel at home in any of their previous albums. Unfortunately such a strong intro is diluted by the second track. Raise Your Fist is a bland, paint-by-numbers shadow of the songs Rancid used to write, relying on one of the most over-used chord progressions in pop-punk, and weighted down by ambiguous political protest lyrics that just don’t sound genuine coming from 40-somethings. [ezcol_1third] [caption id="attachment_1416" align="alignright" width="246"]Rancid Rancid[/caption] [/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Rancid, and I know that age never kept Pete Seeger from belting out the protest tunes in his twilight years, but it really seems like Tim is just phoning it in with the lyrics, especially after deeper songs in their previous work like Warsaw, Bloodclot, Radio Havana, Antennas, It’s Quite Alright and Born Frustrated, to name a few. Songs in which it really felt like there was sound reasoning behind the protest.[/ezcol_2third_end] There’s something to be said about Rancid, and that is NO ONE expects them to reinvent themselves. They know who they are, and are perfectly comfortable with it, and so are their fans. Tracks 3 and 4 remind you that Rancid are, at heart, four brothers who just want to make the kind of music they fell in love with as kids. Collision Course is a very fast (clocking in at 1:57) 3-chord Ramones-style rock and roll ditty, and Evil’s My Friend is a mean-sounding ska tune that would get anyone moving on the dance floor. The rest of the album fluctuates in the same fashion; a couple of songs that sound classic Rancid here and there (In The Streets, A Power Inside, Now We’re Through With You), a couple of songs that seem fresh (Face Up, Already Dead) and a few songs that would have been better off as B-Sides. Although Brendan Steineckert’s drums give a youthful feel to the rhythm section, one thing that is painfully missing is a sweet bass solo by Matt Freeman. Brett Gurewitz’s production seems like it has fallen into a comfortable middle-age slump. If you are --or were—a fan of the 90’s punk rock revival, you will definitely enjoy this album. If you’re looking for something new, steer clear. Rancid have become the weird, old uncles who won’t take off their leather jackets for dinner, but are still fun to hang out with.

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