Old Firm Casuals - Never Say Die [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Old Firm Casuals

Never Say Die [7-inch] (2014)

Volsung Records

While Rancid's next album continues to gestate, Lars Frederiksen's other band, the Old Firm Casuals, has steadily released a series of seven–inches over the years (with a full–length reportedly coming soon). The latest, the single "Never Say Die," finds the band drifting away from the group's gritty Oi! sound towards…well, Rancid basically.

"Never Say Die," a soccer anthem for the San Jose Earthquakes, comes in two versions here. The A–side features members of the Quakes on gang vox, but they don't contribute a whole lot. Mostly, it's just Lars getting stoked on football.

The B–side is the "album version," and it is only after hearing this take that the A–side becomes superfluous. The B–side has a guitar solo pushed higher in the mix, crowd chatter is cut lower, and the A–side's outro is cut too. It's a leaner, catchier edit that builds towards a propulsive final chorus with all kinds of counter melodies, hidden treasures, and probably something about vikings or the East Bay or something. Given that it's meant to be a stadium anthem, this ode to the Quakes works better without them.

Given the sonic shift, though, it's kind of odd that the Casuals are still around. It's possible that "Never Say Die" does not reflect their upcoming full–length as a whole. But given how strongly the song resembles the anthemic, rock–oriented Rancid of Let the Dominoes Fall, it does little to distinguish the group from Frederiksen's other gig.