Published Oct 28, 2014Rancid's anti-authoritarian anthems and tales of class struggle were always difficult to take given the group's relative success right out of the gate, but coming from four multi-platinum 40-somethings, the sloganeering of "Raise Your Fist," and "Everybody's Sufferin,'" from the band's eighth full-length, are downright laughable.
So what's changed?
After the lyrical urgency and sonic adventurousness of their early work, the Bay Area legends settled into a steady groove, delivering a pair of albums that have the look and feel of the Rancid of old, but ultimately ring hollow. …Honor is All We Know is an improvement on 2009's Let the Dominoes Fall and, as the ellipsis that precedes its title suggests, it hearkens back to the group's most beloved album, ...And Out Come the Wolves, mixing hardcore, oi!, ska and streetpunk in a pop blender. 19 years and several million album sales later, it appears that Tim Armstrong and Lars Frederiksen have finally run out of things to say.
Rather than change tack and acknowledge shifting priorities, Armstrong and Frederiksen are content to check off the standard Rancid songbook. Songs about brotherhood? Check. A couple of ska tunes? Check and check. Their playing remains as catchy and tight as ever, but there's a cookie cutter feeling to the whole proceeding. Even at the height of their success, Rancid's tunes retained a live-in feel that allowed even the most jaded fan to look past their glaring contradictions. On …Honor is All We Know the band manage to reignite the struggle in their heads, but not in their hearts. (Epitaph)