Rancid is one of my all time favorite bands, so whenever one of the members releases a side project, it’s pretty much guaranteed that I’m going to buy it. That being said, I’ve got to admit that I was a bit skeptical about Lars Frederiksen’s newest endeavor. Most of the press that I was reading about The Old Firm Casuals said that they were an Oi band and usually I’m not a fan of that type of music. Sure, the Angelic Upstarts and Cock Sparrer are often categorized as Oi bands and I like both of them but they (and a few others) are the exceptions. The majority of the Oi that I’ve been exposed to has been disappointing, to say the least. The music all pretty much sounds the same and the vocalists often bark the lyrics in monotone rather than singing them. I end up feeling like I’ve just been preached to, or sometimes yelled at, rather than having listened to some music.
So I really wasn’t expecting to enjoy this release, but The Old Firm Casuals blew my expectations away in just ten short minutes. This is a surprisingly good record! There are obvious Oi influences, but the band manages to stay away from the things that annoy me about the genre. Musically, each song is unique and with all three members of the band contributing vocals, the singing is far from monotone. If you are a fan of Lars’ previous bands, you’re likely to hear their influence on this recording as well. The song “Lone Wolf” has an early Rancid feel to it, and “Apocalypse Coming” sounds like it could have fit on an album by Lars Frederiksen and The Bastards. The other two songs, “The Old Firm (D.M.S.)” and “Casual,” are the ones that sound the most Oi to me (also, they both mention punching someone in the nose) and oddly enough, they are my favorites on the record. The version of Oi presented by The Old Firm Casuals is definitely something that I enjoy. Maybe I should go back and listen to some of the original bands of the genre again; I might find something that I really like, who knows? But what I do know is that I will be looking forward to future releases from The Old Firm Casuals, and from what I read in a recent interview, this is just the first of three 7-inch records that the band is planning to release by the end of the summer.