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It was only seconds before I realised it was good, but then...
1 minute and 1 second into the first song (a couple of seconds into the frankly unbelievable bass solo) was when I realised that it was just INCREDIBLE.
I'm generally a sucker for bands that have decent bassists, but Rancid's bass player, Matt Freeman, is just f**king incredible, like words can't do his bass playing justice. Listen to 'Maxwell Murder' and all becomes apparent.
Despite being astounding, Matt doesn't hold the band up on his own...the guitars buzz, wail and thrash about as if their not falling apart depended on it, the gravelly vocals fit the style of music like a glove, and the ska-style drumming (which fits brilliantly with any music as far as I'm concerned - see Blink 182) just blows the whole sound into space.
If anyone wants to hear a quality (ska?) punk album, with various influences, this is a good example of ace music.
If there are any bass players out there reading this, just buy it now. Then you can plan how you're gonna one day be as good as him.
Journey to the end of the east bay is a lesson in storytelling, evocative of Springsteen at his best, but with tempo pushed right up, while the choruses of Ruby Soho, Timebomb, and Old friend just make me want to shout along. What makes it so interesting is that, unlike many punk records (and perhaps some later rancid records), it doesn't fall into the trap of all the songs sounding the same, in fact no two songs sound the same. It holds your attention throughout and when you've finished listening it makes sense just to start the record up again.
Most purists prefer the earlier Let's Go or the later Rancid, which move along at breakneck speed. However, this record is my favourite because the varied pace of the songs allows the vocals of Lars and Tim to reach evocative peaks. Technically, everyone can see they're not the best singers, but a great voice is no substitute for the raw passion which Rancid put into their singing.