Longtime Rancid co-founder Lars Frederiksen has kept busy when his band was taking breaks between albums and tours, from his solo work, backed by The Bastards, to his more recent group, The Old Firm Casuals. One of the consistent things all those bands have in common is Frederiksen’s undying devotion to classic Oi music, marrying influences like The Business and Cock Sparrier to his own blend of raucous Northern California Street Punk.
This six-track Victory EP beautifully captures the appeal of Frederiksen covering stripped down versions of his work with both bands as well as solid covers of the UK Subs’ “Tomorrow’s Girls” and Kiss’ “Comin’ Home” (the latter is particular inspired). The fact that even stripped down and at times acoustic, these songs sound remarkably powerful, is a testament to Frederiksen’s distinctively raspy commanding voice.
The album opener, “God And Guns,” originally written for The Old Firm Casuals, is a dark, hard-to-ignore soundtrack for current times (not to be confused by the Aaron Lewis song of the same name but a remarkably different take on the subject). The record closes on “Skunx,” a song he originally released with The Bastards in 2001; it sounds just as vital two decades later.
Frederiksen had originally planned to tour behind these stripped-down songs early last year, playing a hometown show in Oakland before the global pandemic cancelled everyone’s plans. Now that the world is finally opening up again, he has plans to finally road test these songs in this new format.