And Out Come The Wolves - Rancid
1 CD(s) - Ska - Label: Epitaph - Distributor: ADA/Cinram Logistics - Released: 08/1995 - 8714092644425
7 reviews from the community
Review of "And Out Come The Wolves - Rancid"
I can still remember the first time I heard ...And Out Come The Wolves as if it were yesterday, despite the fact it was 5 years ago. My 15th Birthday, and I was completely into the whole neo-punk thing. NoFX, Green Day, the entire gamut of three-chord wonders. For some reason, getting a Rancid record took me some time, but on the eve of my 15th, my mum was looking for presents for me, and I clocked this album and it's follow up Life Won't Wait in a 2 for £20 deal, and got mother to buy and keep them for me.I had heard of Rancid, who hasn't. Often hailed, quite laughably, as 'the new Clash', the group had come to my attention via those Epitaph records Punk-O-Rama samplers, as well as the thorougly bizarre, yet not totally un-enjoyable Chef Aid South Park album, which also boasted songs from Clash singer Joe Strummer, as well as fellow punks Devo(and even Perry Farrell cropped up on it). Every time I went on a website showcasing reviews for these American punk acts, basically every review, no matter how unrelated, bleated on about how immense Rancid were.
And to be honest, my little 15-year old mind agreed with them, I utterly loved ...And Out Come the Wolves, viewing it as easily the best album ever. It done nothing but bolster my love for the scene, but then one day something happened. Possibly inspired by the fact every Rancid review referenced them, I actually started listening to The Clash. First I downloaded a lot of their songs. Then bought their albums. Ironically, the band Rancid seem so completely eager to liken themselves to, are the band that ended up putting me off them. You see, the more I listened to The Clash, the more I began to appreciate that not every song has to sound the same and be based around a catchy guitar hook to be good. And the more Rancid seemed to pale from significance in my eyes. Yet, I still had a smidgen of respect for Rancid, based upon the fact that they had an excellent bassist and the bass played a far more important role than normal in the songwriting process, which I deemed original. Come 2004, I had discovered The Stranglers, a band whose albums the bass-boost function on CD players could turn lethal, and all of a sudden, Rancid really seemed to be no more than another American Neo Punk act, with little to differentiate them from Green Day or Blink 182, other than maybe catchier hooks.If you haven't heard of Rancid, they were founded by bassist Matt Freeman and guitarist/slurrer Tim Armstrong after their old band, Operation Ivy, split up. Along with one-time UK Subs member Lars Fredericksen and some drummer that even the band's fans probably don't care about(seriously, he gets about as much recognition as the other two from U2) they released two, pretty dreadful, albums in the early 1990s, and found fame and fortune beckoning. MTV picked up their videos for rotation, as did the radio(and while this may sound like a good thing in the eyes of many, it's a big no-no for 'punks'), big money offers came in from major record labels, but already facing 'sell-out' calls from their fans, Rancid decided to stick with Epitaph records, to make them look like Martyrs for the cause of punk or something, and released easily their most popular record in 1995, ...And Out Come the Wolves.
Now, in terms of musicianship, Rancid aren't actually bad at all. While Freeman is easily the most talented member of the band, Armstrong and Frederiksen between them can come up with some nice catchy guitar riffs, and the drummer isn't bad either. What is so comical about them, is their complete and utter desperation to be punks, like they were in the old days. This means really bad mohawks, plaid trousers and leather anything. They look more like The Anti-Nowhere League than any of the more famous punk acts, and the thing I find so amusing about the record, for supposed Clash fans, is that it's cartoon-esque picture of a mohawked, stereoypical punk, looks uncannily like that of Cut the Crap.Come to think of it, for a band who are supposed to be like The Clash, they really don't do a very good job of it. There entire "we won't sign for a major label" thing is noble I guess, if only the fact the band's idols, you know, the real punk acts of the 70s, were all signed to major labels. The entire stigma that surrounds chart success, with views from punks that it automatically equals 'selling out' is also pretty funny. I hate to tell you guys, but The Clash longed for chart success, as did The Stranglers, The Sex Pistols and The Ramones.
Clocking in at 19 tracks in length, we meet the first problem with the album. While I can appreciate what the band were doing here, trying to make up for the length of songs by putting more on the album, as well as providing a link to London Calling, to be honest, I don't think it works. You see, a lot of ...And Out Come The Wolves sounds very, very similar. It's pretty standard power-pop stuff, with the only thing to differentiate songs is that the two 'singers', Tim and Lars, have very distinct voices. So instead of feeling like value for money, it instead makes the album feel really, really repetitive and stretched out. A shorter album would have had more impact, sure it may have gone by quickly, but it would have left an impression on the listener. If you want a key example of this, see The Dwarves, who've released albums that run 15 minutes, yet stick in the mind for just how violent, in your face and rapid they are. By about the three-quarter point of ...And Out Come The Wolves, chances are you may not even want to hear another Rancid song ever again.Before I sound like I am totally damning the band, I'm not. ...And Out Come The Wolves has some really fun power-pop, often with Ska influenced tunes on it. The basic problem is that it doesn't have enough good songs to class as a good album, and more to the point, haven't we all heard enough power-pop songs? it's not like it's original, bands like The Ramones and Generation X did it in the 1970s, and the fact is, contrary to what the band's fans will say, this resembles a Generation X or Undertones record far more than it does one by The Clash.
Yet, I have to say it's hard to hate songs as upbeat and catchy as Maxwell Murder, Time Bomb, Roots Radicals, She's Automatic and Old Friend, and I'm even even quite partial to the angst-o-rama that is The Way I Feel, because all of those above songs are pretty entertaining while they last, power-pop at it's best, often incorporating some ska feeling, but not enough to classify the band as a full blown ska outfit, just taking a nice enough dose to add some life to the songs.The most infuriating track on the record is easily Junkie Man, which would fit into the above category, even featuring some nice Tim/Lars joint vocals and a reciting of a poem featuring the album's title...but the song falls apart at the chorus, which actually starts off well with Lars wailing "no one answers/no one takes that call for you/no one answers no one takes that call for you/no one answers no one takes that call...for you-ee-oo-ee-oo-ee-oo-ee-oo" which is cooler than it looks in text, but it all goes to pot when Tim slurs "Junkie man tell me what your story is" over and over. It ruins what was potentially a decent song, and sees to it that it can be filed next to every other song on the record in the bin.
You see, I've mentioned 7/19 songs here, and the fact is that they are about the only ones that deserve mention. While the ska-injection to the album certainly livens it up, Rancid seem to have figured that..."hey this ska stuff kind of works" and overdone it. The other songs are just plain dull, generic 1990s punk nonsense. The band's much touted lyrics are pretty dreadful to be honest. Even in the good songs, only Roots Radicals really stands out as being anything resembling memorable, and even it's tales of Lars meeting up with his friends and stuff isn't exactly heavy hitting.Junkie Man is often said to be about Armstrong's pre-Rancid drug problem, which I've often found, slightly morbidly, hilarious. You see, I'll admit I haven't looked into the band's story for about 3 years, but the only drug I can remember any story I read referencing in regards to his intake was Marijuana. Now, maybe he was horribley addicted, I don't know, but I mean, getting addicted to weed isn't exactly the most dramatic rockstar addiction out there, and certainly not one to be making a fuss over. As I say, I haven't read up on it much, maybe he was addicted to harder, dangerous drugs as well, and if that's the case, I apologise, but if it was a weed addiction then, uh..
Other places on the record, the lyrics are just crap. From faux rebellion anthems ("Little Sammy was a punk rocker/you know his mother never understand him" in The Wars End and the utterly hilariously cliched 'unite and rebel' anthem Avenues & Alleyways, which sounds like a really bad Sham 69 rip-off.. Elsewhere, they just plain sound dreadful, like the entire course of As Wicked. The less said about Ruby Soho, which drones on over and over, the better.To be perfectly honest, I can't even think of anything memorable to say about songs like Listed MIA, Daly City Train, Disorder and Disarray and You Don't Care Nothin', because they are quite frankly, utterly generic and forgettable fodder that could easily have been B-Sides to the singles.
And that's the album, it has it's moments, but a disgusting majority of the record consists of utterly generic and boring punk that can be found on any Epitaph records published record. It goes on too long, and doesn't have enough songs that can be classed as good to qualify as anything other than a passable record. It's leagues ahead of the absolute horror-show that was Let's Go. I'm not going to recommend the album. It epitomises everything about this utterly laughable modern punk scene, and despite showing some really positive signs that Rancid can write some of the best music within the genre, the album is 19 songs long, and over half of it is completely disposable nonsense.
Product Information : And Out Come The Wolves - Rancid
Manufacturer's product description1 CD(s) - Ska - Label: Epitaph - Distributor: ADA/Cinram Logistics - Released: 08/1995 - 8714092644425
Listed on Ciao since: 29/04/2001