Berkely, California punks Rancid return with “Trouble Maker” (2017), a follow-up to “…Honor Is All We Know” (2014). Kicking things off with the fury of Track Fast, it’s quality, not quantity in this one-minute punk outburst. That distinct Rancid sound we all love is present on Ghost of a Chance with the bass groove of Matt Freeman working up the fret board to the slick guitar riffs of Lars Frederiksen.
The Joe Strummer-esque vocals of Tim Armstrong is accompanied by classic Oi-Punk with the gang-vocals of Frederiksen and Freeman on Telegraph Avenue, a love letter to The East Bay. Melody is reached on all levels with guitar solos and nifty leads which take us to the closest to a title-track on the record with An Intimate Close Up of a Street Punk Trouble Maker. The standout track showcases the tight drum work of Branden Steineckert, who proves his worth as the latest member of the band joining after the release of “Indestructible” (2003). Innovators of ska-punk, from the Operation Ivy days, the ragga-inspired Where I’m Going brings back memories of “Life Won’t Wait” (1998), hitting notes of nostalgia.
The use of an accordion on Buddy adds a nice touch with Tim Timebomb sounding the best he has in years. Frederiksen finishes with an inspiring solo and takes the lead on Farewell Lola Blue, another highlight with the passion present in Frederiksen’s voice. From the hardcore punk unleashed on All American Neighbourhood to the aptly-titled Bovver Rock and Roll with its use of piano and downright dirty pub rock charisma, Rancid show they are not afraid to change things up making them one exciting group to follow.
Other highlights include the bass driven, Beauty of the Pool Hall, a standout for Freeman, and the catchy Molly Make up Your Mind. This is Not the End is the final track however like the song suggests ‘This is Not the End’ with the deluxe edition featuring two more tracks which are worth the listen. We Arrived Right on Time and album closer Go on Rise Up finish up one solid album and a return to form.
Just like the phenomenal “…And Out Come The Wolves” (1995) we have nineteen tracks here and an instant punk rock classic. The use of longtime producer and founder of Epitaph Records, Brett Gurewitz (Bad Religion) may have something to do with it. As hard as it is to match the iconic album it comes pretty damn close, making it the best material Rancid have released in some time.