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Rancid - Let The Dominoes Fall
Ah, the mellowing of old punks. It is, of course, always slightly more disconcerting when they're the old punks that were young(ish) punks when you were growing up, as opposed to the really old punks that were only ever really young in the coffee table books that cost you a week's wages in Borders.
What's unsettling about the ageing of Rancid is that Tim Armstrong didn't always sound like a cross between Shane McGowan, Bob Dylan and a boyfriend in a coma. And Rancid didn't always veer from pub rock to ska punk in the space of time it takes to dye your hair green. And yes, it's a cliché, but if the cap fits...
Back in 1995, when they released ...And Out Come The Wolves, Rancid were too preoccupied with knocking out some hard 'n' fast punk rock to sit around ticking all the sub-genre boxes that Let The Dominoes Fall seems to want to satisfy.
From the moment the album starts, Rancid run the whole gamut of punk-rock-by-numbers. 'East Bay Night' conjures images of slam-dancing college boys adding to each other's weekly wash courtesy of a can of Red Stripe. 'Up To No Good' is pretty much 2-Tone in style, but 1-Tone in dimension and intelligence. On 'Lulu', Rancid even flirt with the '60s girl group sound favoured by the likes of the New York Dolls and Ramones, but with all the ingenuity of a frat boy in drag.
It seems Rancid are happy satisfying a market that just needs something to shake its undercuts and ponytails at. It's by no means challenging. Or progressive. Or interesting. Proof positive that growing up will only bring disappointment.