If there was ever a category for bands that could say so much with a short song, California punk icons Rancid would be touting a lifetime achievement award.
Their latest album, Trouble Maker, picks up where Rancid last left off; seamlessly seguing between fast, aggressive, in-your-face-punk rock into poppy skank-worthy numbers with a slower tempo, all complimented by the vocal harmonies of all involved. In true Rancid fashion the band continues to write noteworthy songs that stick in your brain long after they are played; proving once again that they are legends in the punk rock field for a very good reason.
The first of these attention grabbing tracks is ‘Telegraph Avenue’; a political anthem of self discovery and protest. As Tim Armstrong croons about what I believe to be the Berkeley protests of 1969; you’ll feel the youthful vibes of the Rancid of old. The song is both catchy and to the point, served up with a simple yet fitting chorus for all to sing along with.
‘An Intimate Close Up of a Street Punk Troublemaker’ is a definite “pit bruiser” as is the 73 second ‘All American Neighbourhood’. Then there are tracks like ‘Beauty of the Pool Hall’ and ‘I Kept a Promise’ that after multiple repeats help you realise that Trouble Maker is the best Rancid release since 2003’s Indestructible; a catalogue favourite to Rancid fans everywhere.
While Trouble Maker won’t ever capture the complete essence of their best work, it is a nice reminder that Rancid can still hang with the laundry list of genre favourites that they have without a doubt inspired. They have written a solid record from beginning to end and, unbelievably, most of the songs don’t even crack two and a half minutes in length.
17 tracks in 40 minutes produced by Epitaph founder Brett Gurewitz coupled with the natural mesh of Rancid’s songwriting talent has made the term “Trouble Maker” a term of endearment synonymous with a good solid punk rock. Pick up this album wherever you can and prepare to enjoy.
Trouble Maker is out now on Epitaph/Hellcat.