Rancid may have first appeared at the same time as many pop punk acts but always chose wisely to never go down that path, perhaps one of the reasons they have maintained relevance to this day. They instead drew inspiration from ska and reggae and injected into their hardcore punk stylings to become one of the most innovative bands to come out of the 90’s punk revival in America. …Honour Is All We Know is a valiant effort from the group that celebrates the raw song writing that popularised them when they first arrived on the scene.
Opening track ‘Back Where I Belong’ serves as a reminder that even though they have stuck to the same formula for years, it can still sound as refreshing as ever. There is a passion and energy present on the track that can only be compared to their classic And Out Come The Wolves, as the hoarse harmonies of Lars Frederiksen and Tim Armstrong contrast and compliment each other throughout. However Lars, who has the stronger voice of the two, feels slightly underused, mostly providing backing vocals to Tim’s slurred yet somehow perfectly out of key crooning. The standout tracks (‘A Power Inside’, ‘Malfunction’, ‘Grave Digger’) utilise both vocalists with a balanced perfection.
As a band they have an effortless and timeless sound. The distorted power chords are nothing we haven’t heard from them before but the bass solos from Matt Freeman are a constant feature on the album that more often than not can be the most interesting part of the song. He is definitely the most underrated member of the band and it appears to be that he is the glue that holds many tracks together, yet is sometimes overshadowed by the more prolific frontmen.
While their most consistent since 2003’s Indestructible record, Rancid have not released any material here that will break new ground. They will definitely keep their hoards of diehard fans happy though and have also created perhaps the best avenue for younger listeners to be introduced to their unique sound. At this stage in their career, it’s perhaps the best we could ask for.