By AJ Phink
Do Rancid need an introduction? Well just in case, the legendary Californian punk band have now been with us for over a quarter of a century, ever since the release of their self titled debut full length back in 1993 they have been steadily assimilating different, and often unexpected, elements of punk into their sound, street punk, ska and reggae have all featured heavily but there have also been other elements that have crept into their sound to keep each release from the band fresh and unpredictable, and if their eight previous studio albums weren’t enough each member has developed their own solo and side projects that incorporate influences that go way beyond the constraints of the punk genre, now Rancid have released Troublemaker, their latest, and ninth, full length that is now available vis Hellcat Records.
Troublemaker hits the ground running with Track Fast, a short sharp shock of an opener that channels Motorhead‘s more intense moments, before we head back in more familiar Rancid territory, it’s no surprise that there’s a strong street punk influence on the majority of the tracks, if you’re looking for highlights then Farewell Lola Blue would amongst my choices with it’s straight up punk feel, that for me is reminiscent of the old school approach of the likes of The Lurkers, and a classic Rancid chorus that hits the spot nicely. From here on in we have an album that will be more than enough to keep any Rancid fan happy, there are touches of hardcore spattered across the album that sit alongside Glam Punk Stomp, rock ‘n roll infused bangers and of course full tilt punk rock, including the fine rousing finale, This Is Not The End.
With a few noble exceptions Troublemaker seems to be Rancid playing to their strengths, with a distinct emphasis on their street punk and straight up punk rock roots. This certainly doesn’t pack the punch that …And Out Come The Wolves had, but then again few punk albums do, it’s not as catchy or accessible as Let The Dominoes Fall and it’s not as intense as their early releases or their second self titled release from 2000. On every other Rancid album there has been a song, usually a fair few, that a struck a chord with me and set the hairs on the back of my neck on end, this experience is sadly largely absent from Troublemaker, don’t get me wrong, this is not in any way shape or form a bad album, and there certainly isn’t any filler present on Troublemaker, this just doesn’t seem to quite hit the heights that many of their previous albums have hit, but having said that this is still the equal of many punk releases and a fine addition to their back catalogue.
Troublemaker can be ordered here