Rancid – Trouble Maker
That could be the one word review.
The sound of air exiting the lungs after being sucker punched in the gut.
Rancid are back and it would be hard not to notice.
Over the course of a career it can be hard to maintain a sense of urgency never mind a level of quality, but here we have a band solidly covering all the bases.
Take all of their previous releases and push them into a blender to extract the pure undiluted essence of Rancid and what would pour out would be Trouble Maker.
No matter what era of the band that you personally hold higher than another you will find this is the natural evolution from that point.
Everything that has come before has been in preparation for this moment, this release.
There’s only one problem with it though.
And that’s that they are tapping on a glass ceiling and who knows what lies beyond when they spider web cracks spread out and ultimately leave them standing in the shards lying at their feet.
What next for Rancid?
Where do they go from here?
Fuck knows, but it’s doubtful that there isn’t a fan out there that hasn’t felt a frisson of excitement at the thought of what lies beyond Trouble Maker.
Rancid are now up there with the legends of punk, the real legends such as the The Sex Pistols and The Clash, and they aren’t finished yet.
Far from it.
The Sux Pastels – Final Daze ep
As swan songs go the final release from The Sux Pastels has them going out with a bang, and it is rather telling that the promo art is of a mushroom cloud as this three track ep is a nuclear blast of melodic punk rock.
Big Red Button sounds like The Ruts birthed from the womb of CBGBs and that’s just the springboard that the band are leaping from.
Gather up all the lose strands from over thirty years of punk and weave them all together and this is the result.
No, that’s wrong. You can leave all the UK82 nonsense out of this rich tapestry as the band understand that having a political message doesn’t mean devolving everything down to grunting fuck the police twenty times over a couple of distorted chords.
Across the breadth of this EP there isn’t a point where the eye is taken off the melody.
These are sing-along anthems that could be filed away as evergreen. If they had been recorded in ’79 we would still be singing them now, and for those of you who do make the effort to pick this up in the present then you can look forward to singing along in 2047.
This release is a stunningly snapshot of the talent that exists in the Scottish punk scene.
They will be missed.
Reaction – Old School Rules EP.
In the rush to find a new flag carrier for punk there have been plenty who seem overly keen to thrust it into the hands of Reaction, and their label mates Heavy Drapes.
And while both are very capable of taking on the responsibility, and visibility, of being front runners in a scene, this urgency can at times draw focus away from their talents.
The fire of the live gigs, and the word on the street about them, draws attention, but at the expense of what everything they have is built on, and that is to put it quite simply good songs.
If you don’t have the songs then the moment in the spotlight is brief, but Reaction know this and aren’t looking to relinquish their moment by not backing up their promise with the goods.
Remove the hype and what you have is still a solid band.
On Old School Rules they jump from being trash kings to street fighting men to messing about with a dub mix that harkens back to the 12” single b-sides of old, but also manages to avoid sounding dated.
It’s less ganga haze and more eccies over Glastonbury Tor if you get my drift, and just think about that.
Here we have a street level punk band from Airdrie messing about with grand ideas of mixing Orbital with punk before jumping back into the gutter with both feet.
If the adage of breaking the rules was to be captured in a studio then it is Reaction that who are embracing that idea.
Within a scene that can be at times rightly accused of being tired, too hung up on nostalgia, and even having lost its way, it is Reaction who are offering a guiding light out of the darkness.
Promo video not from 'Old School Rules ep.