Rancid – Trouble Maker (Epitaph)
Genre – Punk
If there’s one good thing to come out of the 8th June, 2017, it’s Rancid’s 9th studio album Trouble Maker.
For a quarter of a century, Rancid have confronted political and social issues head on, with progressive thinking that stands up for human rights. On a day when the Tories clung onto power by forming a coalition government with the regressive, bigoted DUP who’s racial rhetoric can only be bad for a country already living in fear and hate, Rancid arrived, and Trouble Maker could not be timelier.
As you’d expect, the Bay Area veterans waste absolutely no time getting started, launching head first into the raw, racing, scratching sound of Track Fast. Instantly Tom Armstrong’s scathing vocals come to the fore, surrounded by the crashing sounds in a short, explosive opening track.
The venomous sound of Rancid really comes out in Ghost of a Chance and Telegraph Avenue, with Armstrong’s vocals at their thick, haggard best. These punk rocks songs are dripping in Irish soul, with the spirit of Shane McGowan shining through a pair of tracks that explore punk’s traditional ideologies in a deep socio political commentary.
Rancid’s Celtic connections are prevalent throughout the record, Where I’m Going sees their ska roots surface in a fun, well arranged, lyrically strong number. This bouncy punk ska anthem breaks up the raging six string focus, with Matt Freeman and Branden Steineckert getting the chance to show the strength of their incredible rhythm section.
Lyrically and sonically, Trouble Maker is a prime example of the tight nature and quality craftsmanship that exists within Rancid. It’s also a unique example of a band who have stayed true to their guns, their principles and their heart. Despite a career that has spanned three decades, Rancid still have the same fire in their bellies that they had in 1991, and that is a testament to itself.
Throughout this 17 track album, Rancid have found a perfect balance between short burst of punk rock (All American Neighbourhood), and longer, more crafted tracks built on melody. This carefully crafted balance comes out most clearly in Bovver Rock & Roll, a track littered with screams from the lower strings of Armstrong’s guitar.
So, if you’re looking for a strong album to turn up loud and jump around to – look no further than Trouble Maker.
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