Rancid - Let's Go

Rancid - Let's Go - 4.5/5


So, slam-dunking in at number 3 is the dirty, scummy, group of punks Rancid. I'll take this opportunity to say that this and the following 2 album's ranking shouldn't be taken too seriously. I would have no qualms with anyone ranking my top 3 differently, as I feel they all have the same amount of quality. All I'm doing is ranking them based on personal preference. So, without wasting anymore time, let's begin.

As with a lot of the Punk I (used) to listen to, the feel and energy is far more important than the technicality or musical prowess that the band shows. This album has unity, spunk, party and rebellion by the bucketload. The album is full of absolute classic punk, with tracks like Nihilism, Radio, Salvation, International Cover-up to name just a few that WILL bring a smile to your face and get you singing at the top of your lungs.

The vocal protagonist on this album is Tim Armstrong, also of Operation Ivy, Transplants and, er, Tim Armstrong. You'll find it hard to mistake his vocals, they're raspy, crappy and downright excellent ( an oxymoron - let me finish). It's his vocals that add just one distinctive feature to Rancid's sound, they sound like the kid who dresses a bit different, the one who seemingly didn't have any talent but went ahead and sung anyway. That's what this band is about - spirit. Lars Frederikson also lends his hand for vocals fairly frequently, and does a fine job, with similar effect. Matt Freeman, the masterbasser (I'll come to this) also lends his vocals on a couple of songs. All 3 guys have the same underlying vocal style (raspy, dirty whines), but add their own spin, which really prolongs the album across it's 23-track(!) length.

Musically, the guitars are pretty peripheral. A few nice, bluesy twangs and screetches here and there, but they only serve to retain a kind of fuzz and general tone to each song. The real musicianship is in the form of bass player Matt Freeman. The production is tuned excellently to get the best out of everything, especially the Ska/Reggae-inspired basslines. These basslines really add a huge sense of depth to the tracks, they flutter around all kinds of scales and grumble along under the fuzz of the guitars, and man, could this guy play. It's a shame there's no proper bass solo on this album (if you somehow can't get enough of the creative basslines already on show), but on other albums such as ...And Out Come The wolves and Rancid 2000 there are some quite brilliant solos.

All in all, the lyrical tales of life on the streets, not giving a shit, fucking authority and generally being a menace to society are enchanting and inspiring. The musicianship of the bass is fantastic, and the vocal work just sum up this album perfectly - grubby, filthy and bloody good. Get this.

By C. Bidwell