As the next generation of punk artists takes over the mainstream, it is important to remember that the first generation is still making music.

The latest offering from the legendary band Rancid, “Indestructible,” is a good album but lacks the spark that made this band famous inside and outside of the punk community. People who recognize Rancid only from their hit “Ruby Soho” may expect this latest release to contain a bunch of songs to the 1995 radio hit and their new single “Fall Back Down,” but Rancid demonstrates that their talent is far more extensive.

Perhaps the strongest asset of this album is its melodic variety. “Indestructible” features tracks that range in sound from ska to hardcore, and one song – “Red Hot Moon” – even contains a small rap breakdown, although it seems a little out of place. Underneath the different musical styles explored by the band, their familiar punk sound carries throughout and brings the entire collection together.

This record is perhaps the most emotional one that the band has yet released. It explores not only the group’s own personal losses, but also broader social issues like homelessness, violence and the indestructibility of the human spirit.

An interesting inclusion in this album are the liner notes, which contain a small piece about the topic of and motivations for each song. These liner notes add a unique dimension to the songs on the disc.

Although as a whole the record is solid but not extraordinary, “Indestructible” does contain a few standouts. “Start Now” is a spirited punk song that captures some of the upbeat tone of old-school Rancid, as does “Spirit of ’87.” The faster, harder tracks like “Otherside” blend well with slower and more emotional pieces such as “Arrested in Shanghai.”

Longtime fans of Rancid may be disappointed by this record and the group’s move toward the mainstream crowd, but anyone looking for a well-balanced offering with a few good songs might be interested in picking up “Indestructible.”

For more information on Rancid, check out their Web site at http://www.rancidrancid.com.

Rodano can be reached at mrodano@campustimes.org.



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