Let's pause to dismiss the drawbacks and then get back to the gleeful return. The record focuses too heavily on
Another complaint might be the fact that Rancid still unabashedly follows The Clash’s musical template. To those critics I say, “Hey, thanks for coming out. I didn’t notice that connection at all. At all. Hey, does The Gaslight Anthem remind you of any other
OK, back to the gushing. As much as I hate line-up changes, I suppose Brett Reed was the most expendable member of Rancid. His replacement, Branden Steineckert (ex-The Used), is a better drummer. Dude’s got superior chops, but he still knows when to get out of the song’s way. A diehard Rancid fan before being asked to join the band, Steineckert understands what makes the act’s formula works.
And at 19 tracks, Let the Dominoes Fall has plenty of room to work. There’s plenty of oi stompers (“Last One to Die”), dub jams (“I Ain’t Worried”), and the occasional stylistic experiment (the acoustic “
But maybe that’s the point of the album’s very existence. Armstrong swears “Let the bombs blow / I ain’t got control” on “Dominoes Fall.” A good chunk of the record consists of summer ska-punk jams meant to move feat over minds. But perhaps the moment comes from lead single “Last One to Die”: “You got it wrong / We’re still around.” For all the Clash comparisons, Let the Dominoes Fall fits into a different mold. It’s not Rancid’s Sandinista (That’s Life Won’t Wait) or London Calling (…And Out Come the Wolves) or Combat Rock (Indestructible). It’s really their Batman Begins, a faithful, exhilarating reboot that’s as much for a new generation of fans (2009’s latest high school mall punks) as it for older chumps like me and mine.