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Rancid: Life Won't Wait



Album: Life Won't Wait
Label: Epitaph

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The members of Rancid must be getting sick of all the Clash comparisons, but it's not like they don't invite them: The new Life Won't Wait is a sprawling, ambitious, throw-it-all-against-the-wall opus that all but begs for comparisons to The Clash's 1980 classic London Calling. Yeah, it sounds like The Clash—Californian vocalist Tim Armstrong even sings in a slurred English accent and name-drops the Sandinistas on "Lady Liberty"—but Life Won't Wait is a spectacular document. The band shoe-horns 22 tracks into 64 minutes, cramming ample doses of punk, hardcore, ska, and reggae into a package that preaches, shouts, sings, mumbles, and toasts. Sometimes, on tracks like "Crane Fist," it seems to be doing all of the above at once. Other tracks—"Cash, Culture And Violence," "The Wolf," "Something In The World Today"—arrive complete with arena-ready choruses and insistent messages. From the numerous guest vocalists (Buju Banton, Marky Ramone, Dicky Barrett, and more) to the steel drums that close the proceedings, Life Won't Wait does it all, with energy exceeding that of a thousand tired-sounding Bad Religion and Offspring records. Once you get over its derivativeness, which you already are if you're considering buying a Rancid album, it's hard not to be astonished by this rambling, explosive, exhausting collection.