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Russ Rankin - Farewell Catalonia (Cover Artwork)

Russ Rankin

Russ Rankin: Farewell CataloniaFarewell Catalonia (2012)
Paper and Plastick

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
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Contributed by: Dante3000Dante3000
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Russ Rankin is undoubtedly one of the most influential front men from the last 20 years of punk music. Rankin made a name for himself by being perhaps the most straight arrow frontman, extolling the values of being straight edge, vegan and even avoiding promiscuity. What always made Rankin unique is.
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Russ Rankin is undoubtedly one of the most influential front men from the last 20 years of punk music. Rankin made a name for himself by being perhaps the most straight arrow frontman, extolling the values of being straight edge, vegan and even avoiding promiscuity. What always made Rankin unique is his ability to take these traditionally nerdy or unmasculine topics and not only make them interesting but make them dangerous. Even Good Riddance's most omnivorous fans couldn't deny Rankin's fierce presence when he snarled, "Blood splattered carcass / It whets your appetite," on "Waste." However, Rankin has always had the benefit of playing in a punk band where angry, loud and aggressive is the norm. With 2012's Farewell Catalonia, Rankin attempts to bring his trademark rasp and songwriting to a more nuanced and subtle side of music, ditching throat tearing shouts for melodies and a barrage of hardcore for a far more traditional rock sound.

The content of Farewell Catalonia is pretty much what fans of Rankin's work with Good Riddance would come to expect. It's a hearty blend of politics and self-deprecating love stories. Rankin's lyrics seem to reflect that he's as stable in his political beliefs as he is unstable in his personal life. While the opener, "Pushing Daisies," critiques those who give up and attempt to normalize, the follow up, "Departures," is a track of lost love that opens, "It's been about a year since my latest failure." While they do seem to exist at the opposite end of the spectrum, Rankin handles all aspects of his songs with a genuine honesty, noting his own shortcomings and constant struggle to maintain inspired and active and aware.

The main issues inFarewell Catalonia is the unbalanced feeling of it all. The track "Cold Blues" starts out with a slow, rambling story of a conflict between a father and daughter, that never seems to take form; it just describes some sort of vague conflict. Over halfway through the song, Rankin finally finds the right words and the last minute or so of the song actually becomes incredibly heartwarming but the track doesn't garner frequent plays because the first 2/3 of it are pretty aimless. Similarly, the track "Flesh and Bone" takes the topic of war and police actions and puts it to such a strange sing song melody that it's fairly cringe worthy.

The flaws of the album are made all the more tragic because when everything comes together well, Farewell Catalonia is amazing. The closing track, "Under the Hours," climaxes with a chorus of guitars, drums and an accordion as Rankin sings, "So don't wait / Just beyond destiny is fate / You so deserve better than this / So far away from the pain and lies / So don't cry / Throw open your window and fly / Leave all this wreckage behind / Higher than clouds where the tears won't stay." It's the kind of moment that could seem unquestionably cheesy if it's not done well, but (in this case) it's such a well balanced moment one leans more to touching than corny. So, while Farewell Catalonia isn't the perfect vehicle for Rankin's solo effort, it's a very strong piece with enough moments to warrant some repeat listening and really when an artist takes such a drastic departure from his or her comfort zone, that's a pretty good result.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Propagandhi - Failed StatesDillinger Four - C I V I L W A RPropagandhi - Supporting CasteAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseAgainst Me! - Searching For A Former ClarityNOFX - Self EntitledLagwagon - ResolveNOFX - The DeclinePropagandhi - Less Talk, More RockThe Flatliners - Cavalcade

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
pw (October 17, 2012)

EXCELLENT debut from a phenomenal talent

revile (September 19, 2012)

His first record and it doesn't disappoint. One can easily recognize it's Russ. I hope it's not his last. Can't wait for only crime record as well?

Thumbs (September 10, 2012)

I love Good Riddance, but have no desire to listen to this.
Enough of the acoustic shit....

SadAstronaut (September 7, 2012)

this album is way better than I expected. I knew I'd enjoy it but it just blew me away. solid 4 stars at least from me

ak3punk (September 7, 2012)

Though not without it's subtle flaws this album is one of my favorites of 2012. The songs are heartfelt, melodic, and downright catchy. Easily one of the best releases of 2012. Hopefully Russ has more music in store for us ASAP.

luca (September 7, 2012)

I love Russ`s music. and i`ve always loved the contrast (balance?) between the sad love songs and the political ones. anger and heartbreak need catharsis the most. as a teenager in the mid 90s I loved to go to GR shows, some of my fav from that era. a new good riddance album would be amazing. operation phoenix is still one of my favorite HC records, comprehensive guide is close. thanks for all the great songs!

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