Rancid's seventh album, 2009's Let the Dominos Fall, was released a full six years after Indestructible. In that time much changed in the world (and the band swapped drummers, with Branden Steineckert stepping in for Brent Reed) but not a whole lot changed with the band's sound. Sure, there were a few cosmetic differences here and there but the fire, spirit, and strength the band exhibited since their debut in the early '90s hasn't faded at all. The first four songs on the album showcase everything that's right about the band. The nostalgic punk fever of the opener "East Bay Night," the angry political burst of "This Place," the ska punk giddiness of "Up to No Good," and the uplifting singalong anthem "Last One to Die" flash past like their whole career in one six-minute medley of greatness. The rest of the album shows off their strengths (like Tim Armstrong's ragged and idiosyncratic vocals) and unveils some surprises (like sweet vocal harmonies on the love song "Lulu," and mandolins and slide guitar on the affecting story of a soldier's homecoming, "Civilian Ways") but ends up sounding uneven with a few surprising missteps along the way. Part of the problem is that the vocals are shared more than usual among the three singers in the band, and while their efforts are OK, there's just no way Matt Freeman and Lars Fredericksen can compete with Armstrong. The way they all trade off vocals on the Specials-influenced "I Ain't Worried" is pretty cool, though. The cleanly scrubbed sound of the record also is problematic, but only if you want the band to sound like they did back in 1993. For anyone else, there is still plenty of power and punch in the band's performance. Songs like "Dominos Fall" and "Locomotive" fly out of the speakers like demons, midtempo tracks like "That's Just the Way It Is Now" boom and swagger, and the whole record will swell the hearts of longtime fans with pride, and might just swipe some new ones too. Rancid's been doing this a long time and while they'll never recapture the exact same power and glory they exuded in the '90s', on Let the Dominos Fall they show they've got more than enough of each to get by in grand style.
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra