Following two outstanding (though largely monotone) records, Rancid's third offering is a smorgasbord of styles, tones, and moods. It is the first record that Tim Armstrong and Matt Freeman had included ska styles on since their days in Operation Ivy, and it is also the first album where guitarist Lars Fredriksen seems to feel at home within the band. These are four guys that clearly love playing music with one another, and sincerely adore what they are doing. The sheer enthusiasm is infectious, and it makes this not only one of the best records of Rancid's career, but one of the best punk rock records of the 1990's.

The cover art is clearly paying homage to the legendary cover of the first Minor Threat E.P., on which Ian MacKaye's brother Alec is sitting on a set of concrete steps with his head down. In this case it is Fredriksen, and his mohawk and tattoos mark the difference between the scenes and generations in which both of these bands came from. This album cover became so instantly iconic, that many people might not have even known the fact that it was a tip of the hat to an older record cover.
joshthevegan: (screamy)

The way Rancid released "Let The Dominoes Fall" is a media blitz of the highest degree. The internet caught wind of a new Rancid project to be released as far back as a year ago, all over their last few tours Lars Fredriksen had been announcing a new record to be released on their own label, Hellcat Records (I know this because I saw them last August) and dubious preliminary announcements had been flooding Myspace and other social networking sites for months. Leading up to the actual release, you could stream the album for free on basically every website on the internet, you could pre-order the album for a chance to get (in my case) a T-Shirt, several stickers, 3 reversable posters, guitar picks, a copy of the Roots Radicals E.P. on CD (?) an acoustic CD, a DVD of the making of the album, and. . .oh, yeah, the actual album.

Is "Let The Dominoes Fall" everything it's choked up to be? Well, that's a complicated question. Yeah, it's a fantastic Rancid record, but, really, are any of them bad? I certainly don't think so. The differences between this album and its predecessor, "Indestructable" are not really that huge. They are both well-produced punk records with a tasty ammount of ska, soul, and hiphop-influenced tracks mixed in to create what is by now the classic Rancid blend of styles. Both are chock full of personal stories, both are a bit angry (though always hopeful about the end results) and have fantastic sing-a-long tracks throughout. The only thing seperating these two records is the media hype behind one ("Let The Dominoes Fall") and a major label behind the other ("Indestructable.")

What I think is really great here is the acoustic side of Rancid that is emerging on this project. Songs like "Civilian Ways" (a great country-tinged song about soldiers returning from the current war and becoming part of society again) allow Tim Armstrong's songwriting ability to shine through in a way that no other musical style would allow.

"Let The Dominoes Fall" is destined to go down in history as Rancid's "comeback" album, though I disagree with this sentiment. This band never went anywhere (in terms of writing great music) they just remembered how to embrace fame in a very punk way.

Let The Dominoes Fall - 9 out of 10.

When the music hit, I felt no pain at all )

September 2014



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