New Wolves, Rancid's "Let the Dominoes Fall"

rancid let the dominoes fall

Rancid has served many firsts in my life. One of the first punk albums I’d ever listened to (…And Out Come the Wolves). The first album I stole from a big box store (Rancid [2000]). The first time I realized I was average at best at the bass (“Maxwell Murder”).

But with the long awaited and disappointing Indestructible in 2003, Rancid fell from my lips and slipped into nostalgia, especially when I started to dig Rancid guitarist Lars Frederiksen’s side project, Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards (I still recommend their self-titled debut) more than Rancid. That was, however, until I listened to “East Bay Night,” the opener and best track on the Let the Dominoes Fall.

This is not to say that it doesn’t feel like 1995 again (I was only 8 years old) but I mean that in a good way. “Last One to Die,” “Dominoes Fall,” “Disconnected,” “You Want It, You Got It,” and “Up to No Good,” would fit in just fine on …And Out Come the Wolves or Life Won’t Wait. But tracks like “New Orleans” and “Lulu” redeem this album and push this record slightly in a way that previous attempts failed forcefully.

In the end, the record is a show of strength. It sounds like Rancid – in a way that can be approved and appreciated by everyone. The album sounds slick (maybe too slick), the instruments vary from guitars and cello to mandolins and keyboards, and it is hard to overshadow an aging Tim Armstrong, who just sounds better as the years go by.

For me, the highlight of the album, is the lyrics. With Rancid, one always knew what one was going to get, but this album surprised me in some ways. The band retained timely without losing their timeliness. Tracks like “This Place” comment on the world surrounding the band. The fantastic “Lulu,” strikes out to update Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” in the world of bailouts, war and contradictions of what “America” is to mean. But the standout track lyrically is “New Orleans,” the most ambitious and heartbreaking piece on the new album.

Well I went south
With a case of survival
To amend my heart
that’s paper thin
You see I felt her words
and her images filed
I’m gonna carry my
heart to New Orleans


Well she’s got pride
Like a million lions
she’s got a scar
on her velvet face
she’s got a smile
like a newborn child
she’s gotta walk
a Stoic Grace

That’s not to say that Let the Dominoes Fall is a perfect album, it is not. It’s high points reach for the stars, but, with 19 tracks, there are a few throwaways (“The Bravest Kids,” “Liberty and Freedom”). The album provides new fans (and more importantly, old fans) with the style we remember with some progression that seemed out of place in 2003, but fits right in in 2009. Yet, in the end, according to Consequences of Sound:

“..for many reasons, “The Highway” proves to be the biggest highlight on Let the Dominoes Fall. It sees a band that knows it’s the same 20-somethings that forever revolutionized music with both Operation Ivy and the release of eponyomus debut in 1993. Yet, that does not mean the end has come – “Just wanna play one more show/Make some music with my friends,” Armstrong sings. This song, this three-minutes and eleven seconds sums up Rancid in one swoop. Even when the last album is released, the last tour date played, the music will live on, and Rancid will continue to remain as vibrant and as influential as ever.”

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~ by Daniel on June 22, 2009.

One Response to “New Wolves, Rancid's "Let the Dominoes Fall"”

  1. hello, I have a blog about Brazilian culture in London and because of this I’m ooking for blogs related to Brazil to add in my blog friends list. I will add yours and if you like my one please feel free to add me as well.
    hope listen from you

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