Lars Frederiksen is well known for his guitar and vocal work with Rancid, coming to the fore with them in the mid-90s punk ‘explosion’. As well as that, he has continued to keep himself busy when his main band had downtime, particularly in his Lars And The Bastards project that took a bit more of a traditional ’77 approach to their recordings.
After that band fell to the wayside as Rancid got on the record tour cycle again, Lars could not stay still and formed The Old Firm Casuals as a ‘goodtime’ punk n roll band that consists of a bunch of mates getting in a room and jamming out. Somehow he has managed to keep this band running fairly concurrently with Rancid, having released a string of singles and EPs as well as their debut album This Means War in 2014. The sound for this album has been fattened out a little with the addition of second guitarist Gabe Gavriloff (Sydney Ducks) joining Casey Watson (bass, vocals) and Paul Rivas (drums).
The extra guitar crunch is noticeable immediately as ‘Get Out Of Our Way’ starts the album off with an explosion of the kind of music Lars is known for, albeit with bassist Casey taking control of the vocals for the opening proceedings pushing a slightly more hardcore feel.
Holger Danske covers more musical territory than previous releases, but never reaches for the kind of sound that Rancid has. ‘Casual Rock n Roll’ best gets to what the band is trying to achieve here, feeling like something that Bon Scott era AC/DC may have written in 1979; elsewhere the band layer their new found guitar sound right up on ‘Zombies’ and ‘The Golden Fall, Pt 1’. ‘Overdose On Sin’ finds them pushing the music to early hardcore territory.
The biggest progression is a more profound lyrical approach. Whereas on This Means War the band went straight for the throat with song such as the direct and violent approach of ‘Off With Their Heads’, a track like ‘Pendulum’ here is still aimed at the powers that be, but in a much more forward thinking and rock n roll approach.
This is one of those albums that is just foot tapping and likeable no matter what the band attempt, the kind where the artist has truly just written and played music they enjoy and lets it ooze out everywhere here. Whether you are a fan of the original explosion of ’77 or didn’t find a place in your album collection for punk until the mid-90s wave, or are just looking for a good time, you will find it here. Casual rock n roll indeed.
1. Get Out of Our Way
4. De Ensomme Ulve
5. Holger Danske
6. Casual Rock N Roll
8. The Golden Fall Pt 1
10. Overdose on Sin
11. Nation on Fire