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Rancid/NOFX

BYO Records

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Beyond their shared lineage in California’s street-punk trenches, NOFX (sarcastic, pro-porn, smarter than they think) and Rancid (earnest, romantic, and sexy by comparison) have little in common. Which is precisely why this one-off collection of traded covers is something more than an exercise in three-chord calisthenics. NOFX is the funnier of the two, and the disc begins with Rancid stealing six of its counterpart’s tunes by doing little more than taking them seriously. Filtered through Tim Armstrong and Lars Frederiksen’s worried hearts and then projected through their corroded throats, NOFX’s “Moron Bros” and “Bob” (“What’s Bob gonna do now that he can’t drink?”) are so larded with import you’d think they were raging against government-sanctioned murder. And putting to rest any accusations that Rancid lacks wit, bassist Matt Freeman’s hoarse treatment of “Don’t Call Me White” is as immortal as the original. NOFX returns the compliment by taking more liberties with Rancid’s material. In “Corozon de Oro,” the band trades the original’s skank for brat-punk snot; the thrashy “Radio” is rendered as credible Caribbean funk. There’s already a Cali-punk canon; with this release, Rancid and NOFX help each other take a small step toward legitimizing it. That’s what friends are for.—Brett Anderson