I had no idea this album was coming out until it had done. The last I knew Tim Armstrong was kicking out a load of stuff with his Tim Timebomb solo thing and it’s been so long (five years?) since the last Rancid album I just assumed they were on an indefinite hiatus so Honor Is All We Know is a pleasant surprise for me. At least, if it’s any good that is.
The first track is a short, sharp statement of intent, an indication of what’s to come with this album. Back Where I Belong is simple, obnoxious Punk. It sounds fresh and the band sound do genuinely excited to be back. It soon becomes obvious that they’re harking back to their spikier days as several of the songs on offer have a similar, snarling exuberance about them; from the Rock n’ Roll influences of Collision Course, the catchiness of A Power Inside to the fury of Now We’re Through With You.
As always with Rancid albums there’s a couple of bouncy Ska songs too, Evil’s My Friend is great but Everybody’s Sufferin’ is a bit repetitive and sounds unfinished.
That’s not the only ropey song here unfortunately. Raise Your Fist is alright but pretty cheesy and Face Up is dull and forgettable,
The title track is much better if somewhat generic. It’s also the only song that features some lead vocals from bassist Matt Freeman. I’m sure it’s just my personal tastes but his voice really grates on me so just a couple of lines I can manage!
His contribution aside, the vocals are great with Lars and Tim bouncing off each other in the way they always have. It’s strange, after 20-25 years with the band you’d think Tim Armstrong’s voice would have improved but nope! He still sings like a toothless drunk eating marshmallows. It’s all part of his rakish charm...
(L-R Matt Freeman, Branden Steineckert, Tim Armstrong, Lars Fredericksen)
The album highlights for me are Already Dead, which is kind of gothy in a Nick Cave sort of way. It’s still Punk but with a really interesting melody. In The Streets is classic Rancid and listening to it takes me back to the first time I heard …And Out Come The Wolves in 1995/1996. In The Streets would have fitted into that album perfectly.
So Honor Is All We Know isn’t a perfect album but it does show that, while Rancid may be a bunch of millionaires pushing 50, they still have some fire left and can still be a relevant act today. There’s more than a few songs on this album that hold up against anything they’ve done before and it’s the best album they’ve done for quite a while.
7 out of 10 This is good and well worth a check
Best Track: In The Streets
Listen to Honor Is All We Know on Spotify HERE
Buy from Amazon HERE
Studio performance of Collision Course, Honor Is All We Know and Evil's My Friend