The most telling feature of Tomorrow Never Comes (Epitaph Records) is the cover. A band logo and four headshots are framed in a grid. It’s like seeing a novel that puts more emphasis on the well-known author instead of the book’s title, and it’s a testament to the longevity and the roots (radical) of Rancid, a band that’s been active since the early 1990s. Their tenth full-length focuses on the musical experience instead of a flashy album appearance.
Much like Stephen King with books, it’s all the punk rockers need to move records.
Tomorrow Never Comes features sixteen songs – plentiful in today’s day and age, but it’s actually the second-least amount of tracks on a Rancid long-player. Also indicative of Rancid’s staying power and camaraderie is their patented group-vocal approach. Tim Timebomb obviously leads most tracks, but the razor-sharp Lars Frederiksen still chips in (‘Drop Dead Inn’), and OG bassist Matt Freeman shows up on hooks, as does new-ish drummer Branden Steineckert (since 2006).
The in-and-out-fast technique is personified by almost every song finishing before the 2:30 mark. No worries, because that’s these East Bayers’ bread and butter. “Devil In Disguise’ stands out for its delectable, boppy hook and chanty, drum-driven outro, while Freeman has his moment by way of a furious bass intro which opens ‘Eddie The Butcher’ (who must be buddies with Maxwell Murder). And ‘When The Smoke Clears’ stands as an excellent album closer. Vibrant, simple and soft, it’s an apt final stud on the leather battle jacket.
What draws me most to Rancid is, and always has been, their image of tattoos, spiked hair, and ripped jeans, mixed together with infectious choruses and Timebomb’s one-of-a-kind voice. It’s the greatness of punk, the reality that what you see is not always what you get.
Sometimes it’s best to just sit back and let veterans showcase why they’ve been relevant for thirty years.
Buy the album here:
8 / 10