Nothing like a big fat controversy to prove you’re following the punk scene.
Circumstances surrounding this release aside, Indestructible finds Rancid
sticking to formula, which considering the diversity of everything they recorded
in the past 6 years is rather surprising. In many ways this record sounds like
a b-sides compilation.
More than half the songs on Indestructible mirror the feel and musical themes
of past Rancid albums. The ska rhythms of “Red Hot Moon” and the riotous
sing-along “Spirit Of 87” could have been leftovers from the Life
Won't Wait sessions. The speedy “Out Of Control” and gangster
tribute “David Courtney” similarly would have fit in on Rancid
2000. “Born Frustrated” or “Back Up Against The Wall”
are easily comparable to the melodic tunes on …And Out Come The Wolves.
Thankfully the range those three albums spanned allows the band to tread back
across their history without bogging down the album in too many similar sounding
While not breaking a ton of new ground, Rancid does refine their song writing
in several ways. While “Fall Back Down” and “Start Now”
are unabashedly poppy, Armstrong’s dancehall influenced chorus' and smart
arrangements easily propel the songs above the radio fodder they’ll compete
against. The surf guitar and toasting on “Memphis” are also a new
turn for the band. “Stand Your Ground” is perhaps the albums most
interesting track, its’ tribal percussion mirrors the African-themes of
Joe Strummer’s material with the Mescaleros.
Rancid went through a rough year prior to this release, so it’s understandable
that they may have gravitated towards a safer record to counter some of the chaos
in their personal lives. While I miss the amped up, scappy energy from their 2000
offering, this will likely be a “feel good” album for anyone who grew
up with Lets Go! in constant rotation. To Rancid’s credit, the formula they’re
following is a pretty solid one. Tim Armstrong is essentially a traditionalist
at heart: everything he’s written for Rancid has been steeped in classic
punk influences, from The Clash through the Specials to Black Flag and everything
in between. Rancid exists on a very base level as a group of friends deeply in
love with punk rock. Thankfully for us, they pay tribute to it rather well.