Abel Tesfaye's dark, twisted album is at odds with the glossy pop world he's been thrust into
Rancid: Hollywood Palladium
The first Doc Marten has barely been lobbed onstage by the time Rancid has stormed through five songs...
Coming from the punk school of thought that a four-minute song is an extended jam and three-minutes is self-indulgent, the first Doc Marten has barely been lobbed onstage by the time Rancid has stormed through five songs. Careful to pepper the spaces around stand-out new tracks such as 'Antennas', with the songs the kids first dyed their hair blue for, Rancid please the young teens who have been keeping it real since '97 or so, as 'Tenderloin', 'Roots Radicals', and 'Time Bomb' each get a frantic airing.
A nomadic stage presence, singer/guitarist Tim Armstrong roams from monitor to monitor, eyes buried behind oversized shades, frequently letting his guitar dangle uselessly as he sings and occasionally standing it upright and taking some half-hearted strums at it. Content to leave the snarling, sneering and pacing to Armstrong, fellow frontman Lars Frederiksen handles the bulk of the guitar duties on the evening and stands alone for a slowed solo reading of 'The Wars End' that just might be the night's highlight.
Indeed, with punk rock gone the way of pet rocks, much of Armstrong's attitude seems misplaced and ineffectual, like an old-timer glaring bitterly at a car and proclaiming the continued greatness of the horse and buggy. Perhaps not coincidentally, the ferocity of the pit wanes as the show progresses, despite Frederiksen's assertion that "this is the best circle pit I've seen in a long time". Shamed into showing some energy by Frederiksen's comment, the lacklustre throng rediscovers their flagging energy for a spell, a resurrection that lasts through the closing encore of 'Ruby Soho', but dies weakly at the door.
The Cavan teenagers attack album two with abandon, largely at the expense of quality
A still-vital John Lydon rages towards retirement on a saucy, scuzzy new album
10 Tracks You Need To Hear This Week (26/8/2015)
Oxford's finest flit between gnarly rock and frustrating slickness on an often-brilliant fourth album