Good Riddance – [Album]

Wednesday, 07 July 2010

In every big pop music trend that has appeared over the last fifty years, there have always been a couple of bands who – as deserving as they might have been – just didn't break as big as everyone inside the scene thought they would. Such was exactly the case with Good Riddance; when the band's fantastic Fat Wreck debut hit in 1995, it did so after Green Day, The Offspring and NoFX kicked the doors in on the main stream for punk rock, but before Rancid smashed everyone over the head again with …And Out Come The Wolves and Green Day shrugged through Insomniac. It was the perfect time for a fast-moving, melodic hardcore band like Good Riddance to steal some sunshine for themselves. It seemed like it could happen too (Fat Mike helped co-produce the record which should have gone a long way with the punk-come-latelys of the time), but it didn't, really. Good Riddance remained the fine, working class melodic hardcore band that never did a bad show and always got a decent amount of community support, but never really got their due. It's too bad, but history is seldom kind or fair.

Now, about two years after the dissolution of Good Riddance, the band is showing the mainstream punk community what it missed with Capricorn One – a greatest hits and rarities comp that compiles some of the best moments from Good Riddance's six studio albums and packages them with some of the tracks that either didn't make the cut or ended up on the multitude of compilations that surfaced around the same time “punk rock broke again.”

The surprising thing that comes across in listening to Capricorn One now is how much better some of these songs have aged than those of many of the much bigger bands of the time. Listen to portions of Smash by The Offspring or Dookie by Green Day and it's easy to pick out the moments that betray the average age of the bands; there's an inexperienced quality to them that no listener can avoid. By the same token though, songs like  “21 Guns,” “Always,” “More Time,” Remember When” and “Stand” all sound as potent and as prescient as they ever did; hearing them now, the same as it was then, the band dominated with a confidence that none of the punk band of the time could boast. Singer Russ Rankin's voice with the same poignancy it always did but, no longer stuck in the shadow of everything else that was happening during Good Riddance's heyday, they're actually allowed to shine, and they do. Luke Pabbich's guitars rip harder than a lot of the records being called punk rock now, Rankin comes across like the heir to Milo Aukerman's nerdcore throne who went totally overlooked (and criminally so) and Sean Sellers' drums basically function as the bridge between Nineties skate punk and the melodic hardcore coming out now. If listeners make these discoveries now, it'll be a bitter pill to take certainly because they'll realize how far under the radar a great band flew and want more. The downside to that epiphany is that there is no more though. At the end of the day, Capricorn One is a great listen, but it's also a souvenir and reminder of a missed opportunity.



Good Riddance – “All Mine” – Capricorn One – Singles And Rarities
Good Riddance – “Lame Duck Arsenal” – Capricorn One – Singles And Rarities

Capricorn One is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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