The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

RANCID – Let The Dominoes Fall

Let’s start with a rant:


1. Gelling your hair into little spikes or a Mohawk and spraying it with a can of hair colour while wearing a chain with a padlock around your neck does NOT make you a punk - it makes you a pale imitation.


2. Turning your guitars down to play radio friendly melodic rock songs with catchy choruses sung in a whiney voice does NOT make you a punk - it makes you a derivative rock band.


Rancid are one of the few bands out there that are deserving of the tag ‘Punk’. It must be said, they do have a tendency to pay to an almost sycophantic amount of respect and homage to Joe Strummer and The Clash, but if we can ignore that for a moment we can realise they – more than most – embody the REAL spirit of punk, rather than the many pretenders all over the US charts.


Punk is all about ATTITUDE. It is THE KIDS being able to have a go, experiment, and try to make something of themselves in the true ORIGINAL spirit of rock n roll. It is rebels with a cause (sometimes more causes than you could shake a stick at!): teenage rebellion against authority, and against an industry which had sapped the lifeblood and energy out of ROCK AND ROLL itself and turned it into a business. Punk is about not letting your musical shortcomings get in the way of giving it a bash and getting out there and playing – to your friends, and to the world.


Rancid hit their career peak in 1995 with …And Out Come The Wolves, a stomping, pogoing, heady mix of Clash city rockers replete with heavy swathes of snotty reggae riffs and deftly handled ska touches, but dropped the ball as they followed it with a succession of average albums.


Consequently, no-one but the die hards expected a lot from Let The Dominoes Fall, but q’uelle surprise! It’s a ripper - very reminiscent of …And Out Come The Wolves in structure, it throws Clashy punk rock, heavy reggae, ska and snotty nosed, sneering rebellion into a sometimes vitriolic and spitting, sometimes surprisingly tender mix. By the time you emerge out the other side of this album’s 19 songs, you’re left with some really catchy tunes and a great sense of joie de vivre.


It’s not all laughs and play though. Always the metal influence to Armstrong’s old school punk is Lars Fredericksen and he offers up some Lemmy/GBH styled growls here and there, providing an interesting contrast to Armstrong’s frankly bizarre shot at a Strummerish accent: is it just me, or does he sound like he’s singing with a mouthful of phlegm half the time?


Whilst most of the album deals lyrically with punk’s “us versus them” ethos - I Ain’t Worried has a cute circular rhythm, and talks up the camaraderie of the punk community and is that Kid Rock I hear in the middle section?; Last One To Die laments the falling of other bands; East Bay Night celebrates San Francisco’s East Bay where the band grew up and formed – there are tender moments. The Bravest Kids (about going off to war) and Civilian Ways (about a returning ex serviceman) show an everyman sensibility and sensitivity not evidenced by many other “punk” bands.


Certainly, Green Day – currently sitting at the top of the faux punk heap – will sell a lot more records, but that doesn’t mean they deserve to.