Rancid

Rancid [2000]

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After several fine, if rather derivative, albums of ska-inflected punk rock, and after years of being criticized for relying unduly on gestures lifted from the Clash, Rancid has come roaring out with the harshest and most consistent album of their career. It wouldn't be entirely accurate to say that they've left their influences behind; rather, they've integrated them more completely and created a sound that is completely satisfying without having to prove anything about its own originality. That sound ends up being something like a cross between the Clash circa 1978 and the hardcore punk of the early-'80s Los Angeles scene. "Rwanda" is a stutter-step anthem of sympathy for a devastated country; "Corruption" has an atonal power-chord progression and headlong tempo that Minor Threat would have killed for; and "Blackhawk Down" is built on a ridiculously catchy descending bassline and a distinctly Oi!-flavored singalong chorus. No ska, no reggae, no dub, just 22 tracks in 38 minutes with barely a pause between songs and high tempos all the way. If you're looking for artistic subtlety, go back to the catalog; if all you need is a half-hour of undiluted adrenaline, you've come to the right place.

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