Lars Frederikson is, of course, ‘Lars from Rancid’ and at first glance it just looks like yet another guitarist’s solo album. But, young fellow-me-lad, this album is so, so much more so you’ll have to let me explain.
This CD kind of acts as a musical biography of the life & times of Rancid’s enigmatic punk as fk, tattooed to fk guitarist/vocalist Lars. Recalling the first ‘uncontrollable yet unmistakable’ sound of his first punk record in his early teens this CD explores the effect that punk rock had on Lars through his initiation to street punk gang The Skunx who’s ‘skins, punx & drunx’ motto and anti-societal stance acted as a fascinating insight into a sub-culture that through this retrospective album epitomised everything that punk meant to him.
But, there was one guy who this record acts as a more significant poignancy to. Those of you who own the classic '…And Out Come The Wolves' by Rancid may recognise the line “Took the 60 bus out of downtown Campbell/ Ben Zanaho he was on there he was waiting for me”, from ‘Roots Radicals’, Ben being his right-hand man through a lifetime of “scars and good times”.
Lars writes in the inlay sleeve, “We stole with each other, drank, fought & f**ked around with one another’s heads, all in good fun. We were the terrible twins, christened by our comrades & arm in arm we tried to take over the world”. And from that it’s not difficult to guess what the music’s like here. This is maximum old-skool rock n roll PUNK [note the capitals] how it was meant to be – played with conviction, sung with sincerity, penned with passion & not giving a monkeys what anyone else thought!
Although all the songs are written by Lars & Tim, as well being produced by Tim, this just oozes more beer, more scars and more spontaneity than Rancid, having been written, recorded and mixed in 5 days. Possibly.
With punk having morphed into a tamer, catchier and, dare I say it, poppier timbre this could be just what the doctor ordered to the aging old skooler [now blended into suburbia with 3 kids, loving wife and well-paid job in insurance]!
6Mat Hocking's Score