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I think I've heard this one before

Lars Frederiksen is Lars Frederiksen, and he can't get away from that. Everything he does always will be compared to . . . And Out Come the Wolves, and everything will come up wanting. Because no band is crazy (or brilliant) enough to write an album with eight songs that are legit career-defining album-ending anthems--and then string them together in perhaps the most breathless second half of a punk album ever.

The Old Firm Casuals
Holger Danske
(Pirates Press Records)

Folks might remember that Frederiksen joined Rancid before that band's second album, and it's safe to say that Let's Go was light years better than the debut. Frederiksen was not the leader nor the lead songwriter, but his guitar playing was probably an important ingredient in the difference between good Rancid and bad Rancid. So yeah, he's earned his icon status (and then some).

Frederiksen wants to stay busy, and this is his (relatively) new outlet. The second Old Firm Casuals album sounds a lot like a chunkier version of Rancid because, well, duh. Perhaps there is a more straightforward rock feel at times, but the more these guys trend toward arena rock the more they sound like Rancid's most popular moments.

But this isn't a mere echo of past greatness. While Frederiksen seems incapable of straying too far from his comfort zone, he's got a great feel for his personal comfortable cheese. This isn't the latest Rancid album, but it prolly won't disappoint anyone who might be jonesing for one.

Passion, rage, intense stares into the void--check, check, check. If you never liked Rancid or Frederiksen's distinctive rock-punk riffage, well, go somewhere else. 'Cause what you hear is what you get.