Rancid - Honor Is All We Know
It's easy to be sniffy about Rancid's eternal fascination with second (and third) generation UK punk rock: grown men clinging to the righteousness of the kids on the streets and their dog-eared Sham 69 seven inches. When guitarist/vocalist Lars Frederiksen launched his The Old Firm Casuals side project, it was hard not to stifle a snigger. Still, that single-mindedless has served them well over a two decade-plus career where they've generally kept their distance from the corrupting influence of the mainstream music industry while turning out a clutch of stone wall punk disco classics that even cynics will have a pogo to.
Honor ... their first new album in five years is tremendous, back-to-basics fun. The core remains, as it always was, Give 'Em Enough Rope-style anthemics married to occasional interludes of 2 Tone skanks, fuelled by a looseness that comes from sinking a cool six pack. Over the punchy 34 minute running time, the original crew of Frederiksen, co-vocalist/guitarist Tim Armstrong, bassist Matt Freeman and relative newcomer Branden Steineckert (drums) offer 14 breathless examples of their craft. Whether it's the rabble-rousing 'Raise Your Fists' or union boosting 'A Power Inside', Rancid retain their faith in people power ('In The Streets' "you are never alone", which is nice), never forgetting that the best way into hearts is with a toe-tapping singalong. It's all they know, but they do it so well.