“I’m back, I’m back where I belong! I’ve been gone way too long and I’m back where I belong!” chants Rancid singer Tim Armstrong in the rousing and characteristically catchy call-to-arms that serves as the opening salvo to the legendary punk veterans’ eighth studio album, ...Honor Is All We Know. To understand how ...Honor Is All We Know is intended to feature in the band’s canon, look no further. The album finds Rancid in their wheelhouse, forgoing experimentation for simplified, back-to-basics pop punk replete with the infectious hooks and fist-pumping choruses that are emblematic of the band’s classic sound.
Having already hashed out a list of the California punks’ best songs, Consequence of Sound’s Ryan Bray and Collin Brennan recently sat down to chat about Rancid’s new record, Honor Is All We Know. Ryan Bray (RB): From the moment Rancid started leaking tracks from their new record a few weeks back, Honor Is All We Know had all the makings of a throwback record. But that’s not just the thinking of one Rancid diehard hoping the band would find their way back to the punk rock woodshed.
At this point in its career Rancid is essentially the modern-day equivalent of Social Distortion in the sense that it isn’t so much a punk band anymore as it is an institution to be occasionally revisited. People go to the group’s shows to hear hits like “Salvation” and “Ruby Soho,” and newer songs are more of a courtesy to the band than something the audience is actually clamoring for. (To further that analogy, most hardcore Social Distortion fans would be hard-pressed to name any original songs post-1996’s White Light, White Heat, White Trash.
They've been Bay Area gutter punks, unlikely mainstream rock stars, reggae-revival champions and L.A. pop producers. Now the four guys in Rancid are back where they started — making three-minute shards of scuzzy but ultimately warm-hearted punk rock. "Honor Is All We Know" comes six years after their last LP but sounds akin to the rough-and-ready albums from their mid-'90s rise.