Everyone has those bands and albums that were the gateway to other incredible music that shaped their lives. At the time I had not long moved up to secondary school and my musical awakening was in full swing, Nirvana, Green Day, The Offspring, Bad Religion, all bands that opened up a world of music that has stayed with me to this day. Rancid was also one of those bands for me and ‘…And Out Come The Wolves’ was one of those albums.
Rancid’s 3rd studio album saw the band at a transitional time, it was the early nineties and punk was starting to enjoy a resurgence and with it came the major labels, lining up to be the ones to sign the band. The albums title was in reference to this, a line taken from a poem from the book ‘The Basketball Diaries’.
What do you do? Take the money and run or stay true to the punk ethic? The band ultimately made the decision to stay with their label, respected independent punk label Epitaph. Many bands of this period who made the move to a major label, most notably Green Day who signed to Warner Brothers imprint, Reprise, suffered a backlash from their original fan base for “selling out”, a move Rancid did not make until 2003’s ‘Indestructible’ where they singed a distribution deal with Warner Brothers.
Produced by Jerry Finn, punk’s go to producer at that time, who before this had handled production duties on Green Day mega hit ‘Dookie’, this album contains some of the bands most recognised and loved songs, ‘Maxwell Murder’, ‘Roots Radicals’, ‘Ruby Soho’, ‘Timebomb’ to name a handful. This is an album that the term ‘All killer, no filler’ could have been invented for. Heavily influenced by Ska but with the buzzsaw guitar of punk and barrels of heart and attitude, it was an album that made an impression on an entire generation. From Tim Armstrong’s unmistakable vocal delivery, Matt Freeman’s frankly incredible bass work and the solid rhythm section of Lars Fredericksen and Brett Reed. It is an album that has aged incredibly well, an record that once put on will probably receive a half dozen spins in the following days when you remember just how damn good it is.
Recently the album enjoyed it’s 20th anniversary reissue, it still sounds as good to me now on record as it did to me as a 14 year old kid listening to a cassette a friend had copied me. It’s not just misty eyed nostalgia to a simpler time, It is a stayer, it is massively loveable and relatable, it’s an album that has legs and those are amongst the reasons this album is held in such high esteem to this day.