Rancid ...And Out Come the Wolves, 1995
Let's start with the cover. This is probably my favorite album cover of all time. A close, close 2nd place goes to this one, but the title and the way it's written at the bottom, in addition to the mohawk and tattoos, complete this picture of despair that you don't often see on album covers. I always imagine this young punk with the tats and the piercings and the hair done just right leaving out the back of a loud club, walking down the stairs, and sitting at the bottom. He rests his head on his arms and tries to block out the world. Maybe this is as good a place as any to sleep for the night. Maybe he's just sad and scared and fed up with his lot in life. If I could have a big print of this album art on my wall, I think I would.
Now, the album. It almost feels like you're ripping the band off, listening to this amazing visceral music. It's 19 tracks and there's not a dud among them. You get your punk, your ska, and your rock in a nice little 19-track cocktail that leaves you wanting more.
There are TWO fantastic bass solos on this album and I gave you the one that I always forget until right before it's happening ("Lock, Step, and Gone").
The one speed bump that you might encounter with this one is Tim Armstrong's voice. It takes a LITTLE getting used to, since it often sounds like he grabbed a handful of marbles, shoved them into his mouth, filled in the gaps with whiskey and bit down hard, and now he's singing through the blood and teeth and marbles and booze. But you not only get used to it, you come to love it. It completely fits with the picture he's painting of these kids trying to find some sliver of happiness in a world that hates them and wants to make their lives as hard as possible. Put it this way, if you're ok with Mick Jones's voice from The Clash, you'll be just fine with Tim's.
This is a classic album that you should hear as soon as possible.
Here's the video for one of the two career-making singles for the band (both of which are from this album! (The other is "Time Bomb"! (see below))). Try to get used to Tim's possibly (read: probably) intentionally bad lip synching and think about the music video illusions that we have grown accustomed to over the last 32 years.
Rancid - Time Bomb
Rancid - Lock, Step, and Gone
Rancid - Avenues and Alleyways
You can buy ...And Out Come the Wolves at Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes