Reviews Tim Armstrong A Poet's Life

Tim Armstrong

A Poet's Life

It was in 1994 at age thirteen that I first skipped a day of school and popped Rancid’s Let’s Go into my stereo. Now thirteen years later, the album still holds up as a classic. Say what you will about their jump to a major label and the last two Rancid records; the fact remains that kids years from now will still pick up the Operation Ivy discography and the first couple of Rancid albums and fall in love with them. With that said, it was with hesitancy that I checked out A Poet’s Life, Tim Armstrong’s solo debut. Given the disappointment from longtime fans surrounding recent Rancid side projects, I feared Armstrong’s best songwriting years might be behind him. Holy shit was I wrong.

Upon first listen I knew this album would remain in my car all summer long. The Aggrolites serve as Tim’s backing band and crank out ten tracks rooted in the glory days of two-tone. While comparisons could be made to songs such as “Ruby Soho” or any of the two tone-influenced tracks on Life Won’t Wait, these songs stray significantly from standard Rancid material. Despite the different sound, Armstrong is in top form on this album and Rancid loyalists should be into this.

Armstrong’s raspy vocals serve as a nice counter to the clean two-tone sound, and his delivery (most tracks feature his staple talk-singing style) provides a fitting cadence to The Aggrolites’ laid-back tunes. Lyrically, not every track delivers, but the ones that do shine. Armstrong writes about girls, Los Angeles, and on my favorite track, “Among the Dead,” Operation Ivy. On “Among the Dead” he sings candidly about life post-Operation Ivy, fleshing out his emotions during that era. This song, along with “Wake Up,” “Hold On,” and “Take This City” hold up to even the best songs in Rancid’s catalogue.

A Poet’s Life is on par with the other great albums in Armstrong’s canon and you will be hard-pressed to find a better record to serve as a soundtrack to your summer. If Armstrong continues to remain inspired, 2008 should be a great year for those looking forward to new music from Rancid.

9.0 / 10Mike B.
See also
Rancid, Operation Ivy, The Aggrolites, Summer, Drinking On The Beach
KFAI - Roar of the Underground
Leave a comment



9.0 / 10

9.0 / 10

Share this content
KFAI - Root Of All Evil
Recent reviews

The Violet Mindfield

Hello Darling

8.0 / 10 The Violet Mindfield  - Hello Darling album cover

While music groups have tried to emulate the sounds of the past in various ways, this is perhaps nowhere more evident than in the world of psychedelic music. Though one ...

Rivers Edge

The Runaround

7.5 / 10 Rivers Edge - The Runaround album cover

Runaround is the third release I’ve heard from Rivers Edge, and besides feeling like a nice metaphoric album title for the band’s style – accessible DIY pop punk with a lot ...

Rational Anthem

It’s Only Permanent

7.4 / 10 Rational Anthem - It’s Only Permanent  album cover

It’s been a long time since the last Rational Anthem record, Emotionally Unavailable in 2014. The band is still similar but what jumps out the most to me with It’s Only Permanent is the ...

Related news

Bands Tim Timebomb mixtape out on vinyl

Posted May 27, 2014, 8:12 a.m.

Tim Timebomb, aka Tim Armstrong (Rancid), has released his 3-disc "mixtape" collection on vinyl via Pirate's Press. The song-a-day project started in 2012 is a collection of new material ...

Records Tim Timebomb and Friends announce 7-inch plans

Posted Aug. 28, 2013, 7:01 p.m.

Currently releasing one song per day via YouTube, Rancid and Transplants frontman Tim Armstrong has announced at least three 7" releases from the series will see physical release. Those are ...



Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.