The best band in the world was The Clash. The worst band in the world was Cinderella. I hope this album’s audience has been clamoring for a merger between the two, since Rancid guitarist Lars Frederiksen has diabolically and inadvisably tried to copy both bands simultaneously. The result is like mixing the best color (green) with the worst color (red) resulting in a hideous quasi-brown, reminiscent of two substances: dirt and shit. Rancid has always prided themselves on meekly following in the footsteps of the first Clash album, and typically their songs are addictive, if not remotely interesting. On Viking, Frederiksen’s second solo album, the songs are neither addictive nor interesting. In fact, they are barely noticeable, since the riffs and lyrics become so complacent and stereotypical, it may as well be some persistent and mildly nauseating buzzing.
Within this mediocre spectrum, the “quality” of a song is directly proportional to how well it emulates “White Riot.” The boiling, if predictable, “1 Pecent” could be on the b-sides to Rancid’s masterpiece, Life Won’t Wait. Nearly every other song falls into the bluntest, least effective choruses of the year, musically ranging between two notes and thematically ranging between murders and prostitutes. “I don’t go anywhere without my switchblade,” Frederiksen unconvincingly mumbles as guitars that are anything but switchblades hobble around the track.
The only reason to pick this up are the liner notes, which feature hilariously immature and poorly lit photos of glocks, boobs, and tattoos. Like the album, it is Blink-182 without a budget. Yet one more reason Rancid will be hailed as huge innovators at the end of the decade.
Archived article by John Shadrow
Red Letter Daze Contributor