Rancid – Let The Dominos Fall

rancid-letthedominoesfallArtist: Rancid
Album: Let The Dominoes Fall
Genre: Punk Rock
Label: Hellcat

When you name your band Rancid, you are letting audiences know exactly what they are getting into; this music may be ‘repugnant’ or ‘nasty’. Over the years, however, Rancid was able to meld together repugnant, nasty punk rock with pop sensibilities, writing classic modern punk albums and even getting some radio airplay. Let The Dominoes Fall follows in it’s predecessors footsteps; this isn’t a clean album, this isn’t a pop album, and this isn’t an album that is going to fit in nicely with CD collections containing anything from We The Kings, Boyslikegirls, or Breathe Carolina. The album is crude, raw, and honest.

Let The Dominoes Fall does have one huge letdown, however; guitarist/ vocalist Tim Armstrong’s vocals. Tim has usually been able to balance out his songs with aggression on his faster tracks (such as almost anything from 2000’s Rancid) with his drawling, slow, almost undecipherable vocals on his slower, more reggae focused tracks. On Let The Dominoes Fall, Tim seems to have lost the edge that he had on previous releases, specifically the tracks ‘East Bay River’, ‘This Place’, and ‘I Ain’t Worried’, which is a real blow to the album, as these are tracks 1, 2, and 6, respectively. However, by the end of the album, some of the aggression has picked back up in Armstrong’s vocals, especially on ‘Locomotive’, a punk rock blast that heralds back to their self-titled albums. Guitarist/ vocalist Lars Frederiksen and bassist/vocalist Matt Freeman are able to pick up tracks that Armstrong drags with his vocals, such as ‘You Want It’ and ‘Disconnected’.

Although the vocal situation takes away from the album, a majority of the album is truly solid. It’s more like some rough in the diamonds than the other way around. ‘Up To No Good’ is an extremely fun song, and after the less than stellar opening tracks, it kicks the album in the right direction, which is followed by ‘Last One To Die’, the bands single, which was a good choice, as the song sounds similar to the bands biggest hit, ‘Ruby Soho’. ‘New Orleans’ is my favorite song on the album, sung almost entirely by Frederiksen, it’s fast, upbeat, and fun, and the only downfall to the track is that it reminds you how much Frederiksen is missing from the rest of the album.

Rancid also bring to light a subject that most punk bands seem to have forgotten recently; the War On Terror. ‘Civilian Life’ is a folky, acoustic jam about a soldier trying to acclimate back to civilian life after the war, and ‘Lulu’ is about a woman who loses her husband to the war. ‘The Bravest Kids’ is an ode to the ‘kids’ fighting the war, and ‘Disconnected’, ‘Liberty & Freedom’ and ‘That’s Just The Way It Is Now’ all take their shots at Uncle Sam and the war.

There isn’t anything truly new or groundbreaking on this album, but Rancid hasn’t really brought anything new or groundbreaking to the table in years. They just do what Rancid does, which is write honest punk rock music. As well, the album clocks in at just over 45 minutes, so even if you don’t like Tim’s vocals in a few songs, there’s still plenty of tunes to enjoy. Rancid fans have been waiting almost 6 years since their last release, and Let The Dominoes Fall will be a welcome addition to the collection. It may not be the best album in Rancid’s catalogue, but it is a good find for anyone who is looking for a band pumping out fun, honest music with lyrics and themes that go more than skin-deep.

Review by Sean ‘The Bear’ Alexanderson (www.beerforthebear.tumblr.com)
Score: 7/10

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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