Lars Frederiksen And The Bastards

Lars Frederiksen And The Bastards

Pirates Press Records, 2017

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


In the early 2000s, Rancid was undoubtedly one of the most recognizable and revered punk bands in the world, so on the outside it might have seemed odd that vocalist and guitarist Lars Frederiksen started a side project to pen songs about his formative years in Campbell, California. Any skepticism was immediately stifled, as this self-titled album quickly became a street punk classic. Long out of print at this point and with collector prices on the rise, Pirates Press does the world a favor here by reissuing the 2001 LP with a foil art print insert, download code, and glossy cover. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Comprised of 13 tunes – with only a small handful surpassing three minutes – there's an unparalleled amount of fury and power here. Evidence of this is immediately apparent with album opener “Dead American,” which mixes barking, singing, and gang vocals with rugged, pit-friendly punk rock. “Six Foot Five” follows and is a speedy melodic rocker, bringing to mind Rancid meets Motorhead with blistering guitar work, before the slightly more subdued “To Have And Have Not,” where Frederiksen's ultra-raspy vocals tell the history of his younger years, growing up punk.

For every tuneful, Rancid-esque track, there's more thundering, vicious sounds, like the scrappy and urgent “Army Of Zombies” where jagged vocals lead the anthemic approach. Meanwhile “Anti-Social” is a throwback to the early days of punk with noisy and quick-paced energy. Fans of the more melodic California punk will appreciate offerings like “Wine And Roses” and “Campbell, CA,” which are more akin to TSOL or (early) Social Distortion and just as timeless.

The end of the album doesn't compromise on its strength with the thrashy, manic “10,000 Plagues Of Egypt” and the bouncy bass work of “Leavin Here.” The band even gets almost groove friendly on the slinky “Subterranean.” “Skunx,” near the end, is one of the best tracks here; it’s melodic, entirely abrasive, and classic old school punk. “Vietnam” rounds out the album the way it started: full throttle, all in, unrelenting fervor.

There's a reason why purists of the genre will cite this album as absolutely essential. Frederiksen and company take the spirit of the late '70s and inject it into their version of top notch punk rock.

Rating: A-

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