Let The Dominoes Fall review by Rancid

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  • Released: Jun 2, 2009
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.3 Good
  • Users' score: 8.5 (63 votes)
Rancid: Let The Dominoes Fall
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Sound — 7
It has been a gap of almost six years since the punk juggernaut that is Rancid released their last album Indestructible. However, that is not to say by any means that the boys have been idle in that time. In fact, the Rancid lads have been anything but idle. Frontman Tim Armstrong has released two records with his side project supergroup The Transplants and a self titled solo ska effort of his own in that time; guitarist Lars Frederiksen released Viking, the sophomore effort from his side project aptly named Lars Frederiksen and The Bastards; bassist Matt Freeman toured with Social Distortion as a sub-in bassist after John Maurer left; new drummer Branden Steineckert, who officially joined the band in 2006, produced two albums. Now rejuvenated, reformed and ready to take on 2009, Rancid have released their seventh album Let The Dominoes Fall. Kicking off the album with East Bay Night, a soon-to-be classic tune that pays homage to the San Francisco East Bay, the 19 track album is full of surprises. Whilst there are tracks on the album such as This Place, a one minute song which resembles very much the Rancid of the Let's Go era with its prominent bass lines and punk-shouted gang vocals in the chorus, there are also songs such as Civilian Ways, a slow tempo-ed acoustic folk track very much in the same vein as Bob Dylan and Billy Bragg. Other surprises include the inclusion of four ska based songs: the straight up ska delights of Up To No Good and Liberty And Freedom; the dub infused I Ain't Worried; and one of the album's highlights, the The Clash sounding That's Just The Way It Is Now. There' even a song that sounds like it would be right at home on a Transplants record: Skull City. With all that being said, there are still tracks such as Damnation, Disconnected, You Want It You Got It, The Bravest Kids, and the bass ridden L.A River which sound much more like the ...And Out Come The Wolves era of Rancid, whilst there are also tracks such as the title track Dominoes Fall, Lulu, and first single Last One To Die which see Rancid carry on in the same poppy vein as Fall Back Down off Indestructible. Instrumentals wise, Rancid keep it cooking with classic Lars solos and distinguishable Matt bass lines. New boy Branden also makes a very solid effort to live up to and secure his place as a Rancid punk. The one qualm is the inclusion of two acoustic tracks on the album when, as many of you will already know, most versions of the album is sold as a two CD package, with the second housing 12 acoustic done versions of the initial album tracks.

Lyrics — 8
With this studio effort, we re-welcome the singing talents of Matt 'The Bullfrog' Freemon. His vocals contribute to the success of four songs including the song L.A River in which he predominantly sings of the leeching culture of the city of LA: From every corner of this great old nation, good kids succumb to the depths of temptation, homecoming queens get lost in the cracks, and quarter back heroes get strung out on crack. A self confessed poet, Tim Armstrong's lyrics are effective, proud, and true. This is best shown on the first single Last One To Die in which he shoots down his failed critics and doubters of the band: The ones that counted us out, regret that they packed the fight, we sit on top of the world, and were proving it every night and sings in his trademark raspy voice of staying true to themselves: Through the storm and the gigs, and the good and the bad, there ain't no doubt, we knew from the very first show what it was all about. There are unfortunately less Lars Frederiksen songs on this album. The one song in which he predominantly sings is the soon to be classic New Orleans. However, that is not to say that Lars doesn't have many other vocal duties. In fact many of the songs on Let The Dominoes Fall are shared equally between the three guitarists. Such a song would be one of the highlight songs You Want It, You Got It.

Overall Impression — 7
Let The Dominoes Fall takes some time to get used to. The songs are all very much 'Rancid' in their own ways. However what can be critiqued is the fact that Let The Dominoes Fall sounds much more like a collection of Rancid songs rather than a record. There are songs on there which sound like they could be from Let's Go, some from ...And Out Come The Wolves, some from Indestructible, and others which seem influenced by the side projects which occurred in the bands six year break. To be frank, there is at least one song on the album which can be attributed to each of the past Rancid albums. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing as, in Rancid's case, nostalgia is the key to winning hearts and souls. Each song on the album was initially written on an acoustic guitar, and this shows through sometimes for the better such as Lulu, and sometimes for the worse, Liberty and Freedom. This is not to knock their writing process, it is just to say that it seems as if because of this, on some songs there seems to be a lack of aggression. However, overall the album is good. Along with the other great summer punk releases (NoFX's Coaster, Anti-Flag's The People or The Gun) Rancid's seventh studio effort Let The Dominoes Fall is sure to make many a contribution to the '09 summer playlist's of old and new fans worldwide.

29 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Spineburger
    Rancid 93 - 8/10 Lets Go - 10/10 ..And out come the wolves - 7/10 Life won't wait - 6/10 Rancid 2000 - 10/10 Indestructible - 7/10 Let the dominoes fall - 8/10 I think this is a fair judgement on their albums. I just saw them in Cincinnati and after the show I ran past security up to the band as they were getting into a van. They signed my And out come the wolves vinyl, and my Dominoes cd. Then security rushed me and tried to arrest me and shit and Tim jumped out of the van and made the venue security let me go and he walked me out so the security couldn't **** with me. Now if thats not stayin true to fans I don't know what is.
    trigojon
    I got the Extended Edition yesturday, so I got the accoustic album as well. While this album wasn't as fast and hardcore as Rancid 5, it was a good album. The songs were from the heart, as with most of their music. The riffs and vocal were just what I'd expect from Rancid. When I buy an album by someone, I want their sound. I don't want something new with each C.D. I was very pleased with Dominoes and think that Rancid is doing very well for having been around for, what, 26 years now.
    chef09
    Great album. Not as aggressive as their earlier work but that's to be expected as they are at a different point in their lives. Just saw them at Red Rocks and they still kick major ass and and fully embrace what it means to be a punk.
    lankycharlie
    really wasnt 2 impressed with this album at 1st, but it grew on me and is now a solid album, although was expecting something a little more special and powerful, but oh well, i can live with it =)
    SeanX3187
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that the main criticism is that they sound JUST like they used to, but the novelty wore off, both for Rancid and the audience, and it shows. So they say.
    that's what the u-g reviewer said... but i was directing that towards the people who left comments saying that it sounded like crap compared to their other albums, which i very much disagree with.
    Yes it doesn't have as much soul as say ...and out come the wolves
    i'd also be of the opinion that this is probably the most average record they've produced...
    inferi596
    i've gotta agree with what everyone else has been saying- good album, good music, good sound. but it's nothing special. as someone said this album really doesn't "stand alone." i enjoy it but it's getting kind of old.
    ndschroede23
    SeanX3187 wrote: for all of you critics who insist that this is not a good Rancid album: i can tell that none of you are musicians. if you were, you'd give more credit to the guys. playing the exact same style of music for extended periods of time is not only boring, but it creates huge losses of creativity. bands change over time and there's nothing wrong with that (within reason). you can't expect a band that started in the early 90's to sound the same almost 20 years later. they went in a direction that they wanted to go in. and in the song, Last One To Die, they even told all of you that they know what they're doing, they have no regrets, and they'll continue to be the iconic punx that they've always been. and pardon me for being a long-time Rancid fan, but i'm not just going to toss aside a band that i've had so much respect for for so many years, just because they don't sound the same as when they first started. so to sum this all up, Rancid just wants to do what they want to do. don't criticize them for wanting to be unique.
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that the main criticism is that they sound JUST like they used to, but the novelty wore off, both for Rancid and the audience, and it shows. So they say.
    ripjoestrummer
    I liked Indestructible better, though I think it was my favorite album (and out come the wolves had too many songs sounding too similar to me). I'd probably rank it below and out come the wolves but above life won't wait.
    SeanX3187
    and to reply to the original review about the "only qualm" is that they have 2 acoustic tracks on the regular cd, and an entire acoustic cd... the acoustic tracks aren't on the acoustic cd, and the acoustic cd was an afterthought after they finished producing the regular record as a way to throw in something extra. they made the songs on acoustics, so they wanted to release them all to the public.
    SeanX3187
    for all of you critics who insist that this is not a good Rancid album: i can tell that none of you are musicians. if you were, you'd give more credit to the guys. playing the exact same style of music for extended periods of time is not only boring, but it creates huge losses of creativity. bands change over time and there's nothing wrong with that (within reason). you can't expect a band that started in the early 90's to sound the same almost 20 years later. they went in a direction that they wanted to go in. and in the song, Last One To Die, they even told all of you that they know what they're doing, they have no regrets, and they'll continue to be the iconic punx that they've always been. and pardon me for being a long-time Rancid fan, but i'm not just going to toss aside a band that i've had so much respect for for so many years, just because they don't sound the same as when they first started. so to sum this all up, Rancid just wants to do what they want to do. don't criticize them for wanting to be unique.
    RUSTDOGG666
    I can listen to this album from beginning to end and not get tired of it. I give it a 10/10.
    Slobberjaws
    rob_hank: almost right. this is rancid by numbers...they did nothing new whatsoever...but the reviewer nailed all of this. it does sound like a collection of outtakes from old rancid records and the transplants, why tim?? why did you put that song on this record?? matt freeman should not be rapping. period. and as far as collapsing after ...aoctw i would agree with you if it werent for rancid 2000. and ndschroede23: go listen to indestructible again. there are no moments. though life wont wait was pretty good.
    ndschroede23
    rob_hank wrote: awesome? 7/10? solid? No, my friends, this is Rancid by numbers. Uninspired, pedestrian, generic. It's so passe to say 'i liked their old stuff better', but had they imploded following '... and out come the wolves', we all would've been happier. now follows the overpriced tour and 'punk chic' merch. yawn.
    Dude, really? Life Won't Wait was great and Indestructible definitely had its moments.
    ShadesOfNight
    Not heard this yet, but I do like Rancid so will have to give it a spin meaning...yes...im going to buy it, not illegaly file-share it like some of you sods
    eoiniscool
    i'd also be of the opinion that this is probably the most average record they've produced...i liked indestructible and loved everything before it, but this just doesn't stand alone...
    Andron17
    rob_hank, i see where you're coming from, but this is till a good album. Yes it doesn't have as much soul as say ...and out come the wolves but the songs are still sing alongs and frankly very good. A great summer record 7/10
    Strato-Massacre
    rob_hank wrote: awesome? 7/10? solid? No, my friends, this is Rancid by numbers. Uninspired, pedestrian, generic. It's so passe to say 'i liked their old stuff better', but had they imploded following '... and out come the wolves', we all would've been happier. now follows the overpriced tour and 'punk chic' merch. yawn.
    ur soooo p0nx rawk!
    rob_hank
    awesome? 7/10? solid? No, my friends, this is Rancid by numbers. Uninspired, pedestrian, generic. It's so passe to say 'i liked their old stuff better', but had they imploded following '... and out come the wolves', we all would've been happier. now follows the overpriced tour and 'punk chic' merch. yawn.
    SeanX3187
    Spineburger wrote: Rancid 93 - 8/10 Lets Go - 10/10 ..And out come the wolves - 7/10 Life won't wait - 6/10 Rancid 2000 - 10/10 Indestructible - 7/10 Let the dominoes fall - 8/10 I think this is a fair judgement on their albums. I just saw them in Cincinnati and after the show I ran past security up to the band as they were getting into a van. They signed my And out come the wolves vinyl, and my Dominoes cd. Then security rushed me and tried to arrest me and shit and Tim jumped out of the van and made the venue security let me go and he walked me out so the security couldn't **** with me. Now if thats not stayin true to fans I don't know what is.
    hell yeah dude, they're no joke. they're like the anti-sellouts. by far my favorite band.