Album review: Rancid – Tomorrow Never Comes

Berkeley berserkers Rancid return with arresting 10th studio album.

Album review: Rancid – Tomorrow Never Comes
Ian Winwood

It is testament to their skills that Rancid are here at all. In 1994, when American underground punk rock at last smashed the glass ceiling that had held it separate from the mainstream for a generation, this was the band that traded in that most authentic, but also the most fleeting, of currencies: excitement. Albums such as Let’s Go and …And Out Come The Wolves were busy with poetic vignettes that spoke directly, and clearly, to a vast audience high on the thrill of it all. In the long term, it shouldn’t have lasted, but somehow it has.

Despite it being many a long year since Rancid were capable of issuing surprises, Tomorrow Never Comes is more of a delight than really it has any right to be. Certainly, it’s a good deal more compelling than any of its authors’ more recent albums. Running at a svelte 28-minutes plus change, and featuring only five songs that breach the two-minute barrier, this aerodynamic offering comes trimmed of fat and filler. Ably produced by Brett Gurewitz, its warm and luxuriant sound brackets the band well as Lars Frederiksen’s precise rhythm guitar propels each track with an energy that never sounds hurried. There is expertise at work here; it may sound easy, but it ain’t.

Of course, it’s the songs themselves that headline the show. Big choruses, bold tempos, muscular arrangements. Because for all their latter-day familiarity, Rancid are not the same band as their younger selves. 'Eddie the Butcher was a stevedore / We sailed together on the Singapore shore,' sings Tim Armstrong on the quite wonderful New American. Time was this group were criticised for what their detractors imagined – wrongly, as it goes – to be a likeness to The Clash, but in the 21st century they’ve become as evocative as The Pogues. An ageless punk rock poet he may be, but on Tim, advanced middle-age is a good look.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Green Day, The Clash, The Chats

Tomorrow Never Comes is released on June 2 via Hellcat/Epitaph

Read this: From Tim Armstrong to Mark Ronson: The icons who inspired Aimee Interrupter

Check out more:

Now read these

The best of Kerrang! delivered straight to your inbox three times a week. What are you waiting for?