...And Out Come The Wolves

Rancid

Epitaph Records, 1995

REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/02/1998

Try to label most any band "punk" and you usually got some problems. Try to say Rancid is punk to a punk purist and you've got some serious problems. Rancid has the look (mohawks), the social-oriented lyrics, the loyalty to a smaller record label and lead singer Tim Armstrong even has "punk" tattooed on his fingers, but for some reason, that isn't enough for many purists of the punk community.

Fortunately, Rancid doesn't give a shit about trying to impress the masses at their own expense. That is especially evident with their adventureous 1995 ' release, ...And Out Come the Wolves While the album could have been trimmed by two or three tracks, it's a bracing declaration of true punk ethos. Green Day would rather be labeled "power pop," Henry Rollins would kick your ass if you were to limit his music range to just "punk," but Rancid proudly wears the label throughout my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 ...And Out Come the Wolves.

Rancid attacks racism ("Avenues & Alleyways"), urban violence ("Maxwell Murder") and gives a strang, empathetic tale of drug addiction ("Junkie Man"). All songs are addressed with a pulverising, catchy beat and are less than three minutes. And like the best punk bands, Rancid thrives on a duling chemistry. Duo guitarists and lyric writers Tim Armstrong and Lars Frederiksen provide a strong balance, especially with their differing vocal styles. Tim beautifully sneers most of his lyrics while Lars provides some smooth harmonies.

Andy Wallace certainly doesn't hurt the chemistry. The master mixer of Slayer, Faith No More and Nirvana's best works mixed ...And Out Come the Wolves, giving it a gritty, yet pristine sound. And with Jerry Finn and Rancid producing the entire album, the creative juices were flowing througout the album.

General boredom and stagnation get their share of coverage in the song "Roots Radicals." Armstrong spits, "Something struck me funny when we ran out of money/where do you go now when you're only 15?" I laugh at the lyrics now, but I imagine when I was 15, those exact same words were going through my head.

Even though most of the lyrics are strong, the tag-team vocal delivery is the highlight of ...And Out Come the Wolves. The pass-the-mike thunder of "Lock, Step & Gone" is one of the best punk anthems of recent memory.

With ...And Out Come the Wolves, Rancid proves they've almost arrived as a great band. The only time they fault is when they focus on personal relationships that are failing. "The Way I Feel About You" is a weak closer, "Avenue & Alleyways" would have been a much more appropriate way to close the album, especially with its use of the often-associated skinhead "oi" chant. "She's Automatic" is also a tad too adolecent for your average listener.

Three misfires ("You Don't Care Nothin'" being the third) out of nineteen still isn't bad. And with a new album on the way, hopefully Rancid will have made up for the occasional blemishes of ...And Out Come the Wolves If you're a fan of the genre, this is almost an essential purchase, easily one of the best punk albums of the '90s. And fortunately for me, any punk purist is going to have a tough time tracking down and keying my car for having the audacity to label this album "punk."

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 1998 Sean McCarthy and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Epitaph Records, and is used for informational purposes only.