I was at Target last week getting diapers and pacifiers for the new baby and picked up the new Dave Matthews record for the wife and saw the new Rancid album sitting there for $7.99. OK, I'll bite. Not a good idea.
The first four Rancid albums are amazing. They mixed punk with rock with clever lyrics and great tempos. They even had a hit with Let's Go. Then they went in this weird hardcore/reggae direction that made little sense. Let The Dominoes Fall feels like it should have come out right after Life Won't Wait, when the band was good. It has the right mix of rock, punk and reggae and very little hardcore. However, the execution leaves a lot to be desired.
It's too bad the eleven years between the last good Rancid record and this one seem to have worn on the band. Tim Armstrong sounds downright drowsy on the new record and that's probably the biggest reason the entire thing feels so second-rate.
With a few exceptions, This Place, Last One To Die, Disconnected, New Orleans, the 19 tracks pretty much stink. Go download the few good ones and be happy with that.
If I was still reviewing albums for a living this might be one I'd say would be for hardcore fans only, but I think the hardcore fans will be more upset with it than the casual listeners.
The photo above I shot on the Warped Tour in 1998, at the height of Rancid's greatness. It's too bad they wasted so many years afterwards before getting to these songs. A video from Wednesday night's Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien is below. The boys don't look good.
Photo Copyright David Thomas