Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Old Firm Casuals - 'The Old Firm Casuals'

With another year comes another Rancid side project. This time out, Rancid guitarist/vocalist Lars Frederiksen has an Oi-punk outfit, the somewhat humorously dubbed Old Firm Casuals, and their new self-titled seven-inch is a rocker. Boasting four songs, Old Firm Casuals is frills-free punk rock from a modern legend.

I think that in order to be a diehard Rancid fan, you need at least a little sense of humor, which is why I’m all about the lo-fi, grainy trappings of opener “Old Firm (D.M.S.),” even though the chorus goes “We are the Old Firms!” My degree is in English; I can find the sexual in anything. It’s still a catchy number, though. “Lone Wolf,” meanwhile, goes by in a punk rock flash.

The flipside (dubbed “Boat Side”), owes a debt to early Clash, especially “London’s Burning” and “Clash City Rockers.” But hey, that riff is undeniable, the bassline is buoyant, and the gang vox are solid. “Casual” closes out the seven-inch with another round of sloganeering dedicated to the band itself. In that sense, Frederiksen has swapped out Rancid’s constant references to East Bay for simply mentioning his band’s name.

So on a certain level, The Old Firm Casuals are a little silly. But they also play old school punk rock, and they do it well too. I’m a Rancid fanboy, so this certainly gets a passing grade from me, but the songs’ primal energy should hopefully appeal to new listeners as well. The group plays punk in its most basic form; if you don’t like this, you’re not a fan.

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