I like punk rock a whole lot. It’s the music I grew up on, it’s the music I make with Bad Mary, and it’s the music I listen to the most. While some bands have diverted from those origins, East Bay superheroes Rancid keep producing quality record after quality record. 2009’s Let the Dominoes Fall was a classic return to Rancid greatness that reminded me of one of my favorite albums …And Out Come The Wolves (Rancid ,1995). It’s always nice to see what Rancid is working on. Their ska-infused punk is dance-able, singable, and catchy while still feeling incredibly raw and raucous. …Honor Is All We Know (Epitaph) is no different from what the Oakland-based quartet has made themselves famous for. While a few tracks shorter than normal (Rancid albums typically reach track 19-20), it still portrays the classic Rancid drive. My favorite song on the album is currently “Evil’s My Friend” though “Collision Course” and “…Honor Is All We Know” are very close seconds.
Dual guitars and dual vocals sound right at home with Matt Freeman’s globe-trotting bass lines. While many times we as musicians would like to see artists break their mold, Rancid never needs to do that. They’re just making great, honest music and this new album proves it. Tim Armstrong’s excellent lyrics bounce off of his screeching guitar solos with catchy hooks and great working-class punk. I often say that you can “hear the bay” in Rancid tracks and …Honor Is All We Know feels like an Alcatraz tidal wave. It’s also nice to have more Lars Frederiksen vocals on this album. There were much fewer Lars songs than normal on Let the Dominoes Fall.
All I can say about …Honor Is All We Know is that it’s a great album. It’s a quick, powerful record with the quintessential Rancid grit. If you were looking for some real “punk” amidst all the nonsense that passes for the genre these days, you will not be upset. Rancid proves that the best punk is the punk that knows it’s roots and its home. I’m quite excited to put this album into my rotation, it’s worth a purchase and you’ll enjoy it. Rock and Roll shouldn’t be difficult to understand, and Rancid embodies the spirit of rock better than most bands around today.