Rancid
Let the Dominoes Fall


3.5
great

Review

by Serpento USER (12 Reviews)
June 4th, 2009 | 29 replies | 13,251 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: How do forty-year-old 90's punks keep doing this?

2 of 3 thought this review was well written

"All the records have their own particular smell about them, and they smell the same way today as they did in '95," said guitarist and singer Lars Frederiksen. "We've been a band for a long while and it's hard to ignore that. But this is the beginning of the next 17 years." The L.A. Times

Rancid, never leave us. For over fifteen years and through numerous side projects (all of which have also had their share of success,) the four-piece punk outfit has continually been a defacto soundtrack for the lives of the charmed and not-so-charmed. Their newest and fan-anticipated release, Let the Dominoes Fall, doesn’t detract from this in the slightest; rather, the album brings back memories of Rancid’s pinnacle in the mid-‘90s, with the distinct “smell” of nostalgic reggae-punk. And across the wide-but-not-bloated 19-strong tracklist, it’s a Rancid smell that gets anything but rancid.

Nostalgia, in fact, is the true flavor of the album, and it washes over right from Tim’s first croon of, “another East Bay night…” As if it held the key to a rusty doorway into the past, Let the Dominoes Fall captures the essence of memory, both good and bad. The highlight track “Civilian Ways” embodies the latter, with a meandering acoustic riff and Dylan-esque vocals, as Tim longs for his war-thrashed brother to return to his old self. The song is not necessarily political in nature, but damned if it isn’t more powerful than flat-out-facepunch band politics (Green Day, Enter Shikari, The Used, anyone?) Empathy for his brother’s plight spews into the listeners’ hearts, thanks to Tim’s very effective (and, as of late, fairly common) personal touch to his songwriting. Of course, much of the album aurally follows the old tried-and-true formula fans have seen traverse the likes of Rancid, Let’s Go, and …And Out Come the Wolves. “L.A. River” features Matt Freeman’s grating vocals in a sort of scat chorus, only one of his many appearances a la early Rancid.

That’s not to say, though, that Let the Dominoes Fall is the same old story for the Berkley foursome (well, threesome and former Used drummer Branden Steineckert.) The ambitious “Up to No Good” takes on an arrangement closer to Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution, with guest spots covering viola, violin, a horn section, keys, cello, and chanting vocals. While reminiscent of songs like “Ruby Soho” and “Corazon de Oro,” the song leaps to a new height of musicianship for Rancid. “New Orleans” and “Liberty and Freedom” take the reggae feel even further, touching on old dub and dancehall sensibilities that the band consistently mimics. One less desirable thing the band has built upon recently is the squelching of guitarist and former co-lead vocalist Lars Frederikson. He is firmly stuck on the back burner vocally, barely anywhere to be seen, or rather, heard, at times. Freeman’s vocals, which as mentioned are more prominent, don’t offer a satisfying replacement, either, despite his…unique style.

Rancid have proven one thing over their long career: they never fail to deliver. They’re a band so very consistent in a genre rife with the weak and flimsy, and a beacon for ska, pop-punk, and reggae tastes alike. Even after its two remaining founders crested forty, they’re still somehow able to churn out 15-20 tracks per album and make each one fresh and fun. From bouncy and danceable pop-punk of old to their heartstring-tugging emotional side, Let the Dominoes Fall is just another strong addition to Rancid's enviable discography and a big fan's wet dream.



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user ratings (229)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
June 4th 2009



7326 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

good review but i didnt think it was a 4, though i only listened once. up to no good was easily the best song imo

rotterdog
June 4th 2009



488 Comments


Damn good review. I'm excited to hear this.

DaveBum69
June 4th 2009



699 Comments


i only listened to a couple songs off this so far but it gave me this strange feeling that i was listening to lets go

Serpento
June 4th 2009



2351 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

yeah it was around a 3 for me too the first time but it grows, after a little while it felt familiar

then again it's samey so yeah

wow that summary was fucking stupid, that's what i get for writing reviews in school

Tyler
Emeritus
June 4th 2009



7926 Comments


my review is comin' and it won't be this generous tbh

gaslightanthem
June 4th 2009



5209 Comments


2.5-3?

Serpento
June 4th 2009



2351 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

this rating keeps bouncing now that i wrote it

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
June 4th 2009



15732 Comments


give in to peer pressure!

Tyler
Emeritus
June 4th 2009



7926 Comments


Probably a 3 for me, I need to give it some more listens

Serpento
June 4th 2009



2351 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

peer pressure is toe tappingly tragic

mvdu
June 4th 2009



603 Comments


I haven't even been a fan up to this point and think I will check this out more. Sounds good from the samples.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
June 4th 2009



15732 Comments


peer pressure is toe tappingly tragic


probably why yonlu killed himself

HenchmanOfSanta
June 4th 2009



1857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

3.5 album is 3.5

I wish Matt Freeman had better basslines on this album.

Digging: Afflicted - Prodigal Sun

Rudd13
June 5th 2009



952 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

All I can say is ouch..
This whole album feels way too simple to make up for the six year studio absence.. Disconnected is the only real song that I currently enjoy..Most likely cause of Matt's vocals. I've tried liking the album but it's fairly easy to dismiss it as one of their poorest deliveries due to their song structure becoming so painfully simple.

The presence of the organ is very clean and vibrant, so it hurts to actually dislike the outcome. The hooks to all these songs especially the singles, become predictable. In a huge old school fan's eyes, it just can't beyond any boundaries, touch the good ol rockin days of Let's Go or the very gritty and unforgiving 2000 album. I bow my head to another classic giant drifting off into the sunset.. to sell out!!

yetanotherprofile
June 5th 2009



180 Comments


Yer I have to agree with ya Rud. They have gone a bit lame since 2000. Got way to simple and quite boring.

KTV
June 5th 2009



760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this album wins


oh and rudd, simplicity isn't always a bad thing...

stuartdfc
June 5th 2009



5 Comments


Not a bad effort. Rancid albums usually strike me as instantly enjoyable but this one took a few listens. Will probably need to listen a few more times so as to gauge exactly what I think of it.

StrizzMatik
June 5th 2009



3185 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's good, and nothing more, sadly. This doesn't touch their other records IMO, especially Rancid 2000 or AOCTW. Even with its filler songs, Indestructible was a better record. "Civilian Ways" is the best song on the album just because it's so different. I'm also not a big fan of the ultra-sparkly production job either. TBH, the acoustic versions of these songs (included with the "expanded" version of the CD) are overall better than the record. They just sound tired on this most of the time, especially Tim's vocals, and the quality doesn't reflect a six-year absence.

JohnXDoesn't
June 5th 2009



1267 Comments


listening now. 5 songs in and all is well. good solid rock n roll from what i can tell. if it keeps up its gonna be a 4 prolly. maybe a 3.5. but very solid nonetheless

nice review....

Serpento
June 5th 2009



2351 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

i dont get the whole six-year-hiatus-expectations thing, but to me it didnt seem like they were gone with all the other stuff they'd been cranking out with the side projects



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