Mar 272002
Authors: Brian Holcombe

NOFX’s “Punk in Drublic” and “So Long and Thanks for All the Shoes.”

Rancid’s two self-titled albums and “Let’s Go.”

Fans have considered these releases from two of the most influential bands in the national punk scene over the last decade as classics.

Here’s another.

NOFX and Rancid grace the newest installment in BYO Records’ Split Series, released March 5. In an interesting move, NOFX and Rancid cover each other’s songs on one of the must-buy albums of the year.

The stylistic jump from the original song versions creates a new window into the bands’ music, a window not often available outside of the occasional cover tracks found on many of today’s albums.

Tim Armstrong’s scratchy voice overlying Rancid anthems “I’m The One” and “Olympia, WA” is replaced by the harmonized shrill of NOFX’s Fat Mike. Fat Mike’s crying plea in NOFX’s “Don’t Call Me White” is replaced by Rancid bassist Matt Freeman’s deep gargle.

While no bassist this side of Siberia can overcome Rancid’s, Fat Mike holds his own in competition with Freeman’s rabid bass lines. Racing through “Tenderloin,” Fat Mike displays his dexterity, speeding across the frets with abandon.

Melodizing both Rancid’s hasty cry for the destruction of California, “Antennaes,” and ska-thick search for love, “Corazon de Oro,” NOFX consolidates the former’s wide musical range into its own prescribed style.

In the most enthralling alteration of the album, NOFX’s El Hefe exchanges Rancid’s thrashy “Radio” for an organ-splashed calyptic reggae tour de force. Reminiscent of Rancid’s recent musical expansion, this detour is the diamond in a bag of gems.

Filling the void between Frederiksen rants and scratching through NOFX staple Bob, Rancid’s Tim Armstrong twists the melodic ballad in his cheeks and spits it toothless through the speakers. Pining the downfalls of alcoholism, Armstrong provides a tour through recovery from the disease.

In the third release of BYO Records’ Split Series, NOFX formulates Rancid’s plethora of musical manner into its own, while Rancid tears the harmony from the former and regurgitates ripping bass lines and goring vocals.

Buy the NOFX/Rancid split album from your local independent record store.

NOW. n

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