Thursday, December 21, 2017

Rancid And Out Come The Wolves (1995) Review

Rancid "And Out Come The Wolves" (1995) LP Cover
Today I wanted to go back to 1995, when I was still staying up late on a Friday and Saturday night in order to catch Punkorama television. That show introduced me to a lot of great bands, and one of the bands that I heard from there was none other than Rancid. Rancid is one of my personal favorite bands, and I have seen them play a couple of times in my life, always a fun and great show. The band has a way of putting together some great tunes, and it’s not just traditional punk and ska ethos, it’s a mix of things that makes them great. Well, in 1995 they put out the record, “And Out Come The Wolves”, and it was immediately garnered as one of the best punk rock records in a long time. It has 19 songs and nearly 50 minutes of music. You get a lot of different elements hitting you at the same time with this record, and it’s hard to say “one” thing about it, which is why it’s still one of the best records that you’re going to hear today.

The Bass Playing Stands Out First

The number one thing that always stands out for me about “And Out Come The Wolves” is the bass playing. Matt Freeman on the bass guitar here is incredible. He doesn’t just play the traditional one or two strings, he goes all over the strings and fret board. You’re not going to find a better bass player in punk rock, and he puts down an incredible mix of work. It’s absolutely incredible to hear how he pulls through so many incredible bass lines. Every track has an incredible amount of bass guitar work, so if you’re a fan of bass guitar, you have to listen to this record with the heavy bass tones on. You’ll be surprised by how good Freeman truly is. No other punk record is this good on bass, and I’ll test that against nearly any record you can find. Funk bands may have better bass tone, like that of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, but honestly, Matt Freeman puts on a clinic with the bass and punk rock music here.

Two Singers Fills Rancid Out

For those that aren’t long time fans of Rancid, you may think that Lars Frederiksen was always in the band. He wasn’t. However, if you jumped on board with the release of this record in 1995, then you don’t know anything else, because his vocals alongside Tim Armstrong’s are incredible. The two are able to put on great elements of vocalization and create different spectrums of sound. Lars has a stronger vocal while Tim has a laid back drawl that works well. Both work together to create a symbiosis of sound that you are not going to find with a lot of other bands in the same genre. This is a great duality that makes some of the tracks just stand out completely.

A Track listing Full of Amazing Singles

Only three official singles were published with this record, but I don’t think of this record in terms of singles. I liked so many tracks on this, that you are going to have a hard time isolating just “one” favorite or one that I felt was a single. Now, there was a big rush to play some songs on MTV and KROQ radio in Los Angeles, so of course those are within the realms of my favorites, but aside from those, you’ll find that there are so many stand out tracks, including one that reminds me of a friend that committed suicide in college. Some of the stand out tracks to me from “And Out Come The Wolves” include, “Roots Radicals”, “Time Bomb”, “Olympia WA”, “Junkie Man”, “Rubo Soho”, “Daly City Train”, “The Wars End”, “As Wicked”, “Avenues and Alleways”, “Old Friend”, and “Listed MIA”.

Hitting Mainstream Without Selling Out

I recall a lot of people talking about selling out in the punk rock scene. Bands like Green Day, The Offspring and even Bad Religion were being called sellouts because they had signed with major record labels. However, I never thought that was fair. Rancid was a great band, and still is for the most part. They have remained one of the long time bands to stay with Epitaph Records, and maintained a sense of style and approach to their music that many other bands abandoned in the 1990s. The band’s record went gold at the time, and had independent distribution, and was definitely one of the coolest things to hear about punk at the time. Rancid, Green Day, The Offspring, all got mainstream success, but out of the trio of bands, Rancid seemed to be the one that stayed away from the courtship of mainstream record labels, which was something that is interesting to consider overall.

I give Rancid “And Out Come The Wolves” a 4 out of 5.

I don’t think that “And Out Come The Wolves” is a perfect record. It has some misses for me, but with so many tracks, and a production value that is near perfect, it’s a solid 4 out of 5 to this day. It was originally released in 1995, and it still sounds crisp, and sounds like it was just released. There’s so much great elements to this record, including the great bass playing of Matt Freeman, and the guitar work of Lars and Tim, coupled with the sing-along melodies that make punk rock so great. Overall, this is a record of great precision punk rock. Rancid plays traditional punk rock with a twist, and this record shows off their great talent.

You can purchase “And Out Come The Wolves” from Rancid by clicking here, and of course get the LP vinyl edition if you’d like. Or you can stream it, I don’t care, it’s up to you.

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