CD Review: The Lawrence Arms

Published in The Music (WA, NSW, VIC, QLD) | 22.01.14 | Issue # 22




16 January, 2014

There’s been a void in the punk scene with The Lawrence Arms remaining relatively quiet over the past eight years. We’ve only seen one EP – ‘09’s Buttsweat And Tears – so Metropole, their Epitaph debut, is a sound for sore ears. Remarkably, the Chicago-based three-piece have managed to return with a release that kicks off right where ‘06’s Oh! Calcutta! left things. That’s not to say Metropole doesn’t bring anything new or interesting to the table.

There seems to be a more natural flow between the instrumentation of co-lead vocalists Brendan Kelly (bass) and Chris McCaughan (guitar), which may be attributed to their separation over recent years. Where in the past Kelly’s unmistakable vocals were fuelled by a gritty aggression, Metropole sees him take a step back to deliver in a more husky tone. A reduction in angst isn’t all bad, though, as with this new level of control comes more emotion, as evident in Seventeener (17th And 37th). McCaughan’s songwriting, lyrics, vocals and guitar work remain relatively the same, which will be relieving for those who enjoy the consistency of his previous works.

This record could use a few more numbers such as the short, sweet and blunt Drunk Tweets, but other than that it’s a healthy blend of Kelly and McCaughan. It’s clear their goal isn’t to try and invite new fans; rather reunite with old ones. Metropole sounds like a reunion between three close friends who want nothing more than to share what they’ve learnt over the past eight years. And this reunion isn’t going to disappoint anyone.

Daniel Cribb