Rancid - B Sides and C Sides (Cover Artwork)


B Sides and C Sides (2007)


Reviewing a Rancid record can be a tricky subject to cover, certain to polarize those who believe this band can do no wrong versus the camp that shut their ears a long time ago. I'll tell you right off the bat: I belong to the former. Controversial though they may be, one thing is certain: Rancid loves their fans. From playing multiple nights at smaller venues for a more personal experience to singer Tim Armstrong's scavenger hunt release of a free solo record, they've now one-upped themselves with a surprise B-sides collection (it should be noted: there was no advertising or release hype before it became available). Many of the songs have been available on their mostly import-only 7"s for some time, but for those who don't have Soulseek or record players, the songs are packaged together with four songs never released anywhere before.

The album kicks off with "Ben Zanotto" from the 2000 album sessions, leading directly into the upbeat ska song "Stop," which could easily fit into Life Won't Wait's melting pot of punk, reggae, ska, and rockabilly. Speaking of rockabilly, the first unreleased song on the compilation is "Devil's Dance" -- similar to "Lady Liberty" off LWW -- with guitarist Lars Frederiksen leading the song and chant-ready female backing vocals. "Dead and Gone" returns to their 2000 sound, followed by "Stranded" and "Killing Zone" from the Fall Back Down 7". "100 Years" is an upbeat instrumental groove that sets up one of my all-time favorite Rancid songs, "Things to Come," from the Bloodclot 7". Laid-back, soulful, political -- this song alone is worth the price of the CD. "Blast 'Em," from the Time Bomb 7", gets you amped back up for a steady stream of, again, self-titled 2000-era punk with "Endrina," the Matt Freeman showcase "White Knuckle Ride," the blistering "Sick Sick World," and Lars' ode to permanent ink, "Tattoo." Next, off the Ruby Soho 7", is the not-a-Jam-cover "That's Entertainment."

"Clockwork Orange" is the first real gem of the unreleased bunch, with a streetwise grind and a catchy storytelling chorus. Dark, gritty, and mean, this one's certain to be a favorite from the record. A steady roll of comp releases is up next with "The Brothels" from the first Give 'Em The Boot, "Just a Feeling" from the Radio 7" and the mid-`90s favorite Fat Music comp, and the truly excellent chant-along "Brixton" from a Kill Rock Stars record.

The last unreleased song we're treated to is "Empros Lap Dog," with Tim and Lars trading vocals over a busy bass groove, reminding me of the "goodbye for now" that was "Golden Gate Fields" on the 2000 record.

"I Wanna Riot" is familiar to anyone who bough the first edition of Let's Go that was packaged with the Roots Radicals single, heard the first Punk O Rama, or saw the Beavis and Butthead movie, and rounding out the bunch is the closing "Kill the Lights," in all its dark, pissed off glory.

Overall, to me this disc is a hell of a way to say "be patient" while we wait out the release of their soon-to-be-recorded seventh record. Putting all the B-sides together for everyone to have a chance to hear them was cool enough, but the inclusion of the unreleased songs (especially "Clockwork Orange" and "Empros") is all the thanks for continued loyalty and all one could ever ask for. A great collection of songs from a great band; this oughta hold you over for awhile. Thanks Rancid; much respect.