Rancid – Honor Is All We Know29th October 2014
That beautiful, ephemeral thing we call music has on occasion, the power to take us to a place where nothing else matters except the sounds we hear emanating from our glorious little music machines. Sometimes we may want to be alone whilst the words of our heroes ride the sonic stallion deep under our skin, penetrating our intercostals to forge headlong toward our blood pump where those words can take up residence. And then there are those occasions where we think ‘Fuck That Weak Shit’ and go listen to some Rancid.
He we are again, five years after the release of Let The Dominoes Fall, Rancid are back with Honor Is All We Know (HIAWK). And before I move on to the review proper I just want to note that I do not intend to get choked by the gravity of truth that HIAWK is not as good as …And Out Come The Wolves, lets face it, not much is. What I am going to say however is that HIAWK is a tremendous album.
From the second I pressed play I felt like had just turned up to ‘the party’ and Rancid were the house band. Seriously, the album has such a ‘good time’ feel to it that even listening to it in bed with the headphones on my head was bouncing. For those of you that have seen Rancid in the flesh you will know what it is like to be part of their show; party is the word. Don’t get me wrong though, I have seen people leave the crowd with marks on them that you don’t get at a Sunday Coffee Morning.
Rancid’s stellar mix of punk/ska rock continues on HIAWK and whilst there may not be the number of tracks as on previous albums (the band’s fifth long player gave us 22 songs) their latest proves that the band remain one of the seminal acts to emerge from the 90’s U.S punk revival.
Opening track Back Where I Belong speaks for itself as a statement of intent from a band that have been around long enough to reminisce, and just as you settle into the song, Raise Your Fist is already well in your face. Collision Course makes you want to jump in the car and speed to the Spar for more beer, regardless of the case of cold cans you are already half way through. Can it get any better? Yes it can. Evil’s My Friend delivers in every way as Rancid show their Ska roots in abundance. The title track speeds along as Lars Fredericksen, Tim Armstrong and even Matt Freeman take on vocal duties to deliver yet another stand out track.
I guess you can tell that I am impressed with this album. Well the truth is that it is so often the case these days that despite passion being present in music, the reality is that the resulting sound may not always please us. This may well be due to the amount of choice we have and sheer number of bands available to listen to. So it is special to hear something that truly hits the mark. But whilst it may be commonplace to see Rancid gain plaudits for their efforts the truth is that there are some songs on HIAWK that fall a little short. But that’s OK. I have lived with Rancid for nearly 20 years so I can put up with a couple of slips.
In summary Rancid have delivered a fine album that bleeds honesty, credebility and a rawness rarely heard on albums with such commercial potential.