Closing in on twenty years as a band, Lagwagon presents us with new songs, perhaps aiming to revive that nearly defunct Fat/Epitaph sound. Having grown up on this band, I was giddy to hear they were releasing new material for the first time since 2005s Resolve, but found myself bummed after learning it was only an eight-song EP. Couple this with their lackluster U.S. touring schedule, which sees them routing the country maybe once a year, and I wonder if the band even cares anymore.
With a title like I Think My Older Brother Used to Listen to Lagwagon, they clearly know that they are the dinosaurs of the genre, poking fun at the fact theyve been doing this longer than some of the newer punks have been alive. With that mind, perhaps this is an attempt to register in the minds of a younger crowd of fans. With these songs taking hints from all material, going back to their first album Duh, I also wonder if this just an attempt to revitalize interested in their back catalog.
The opener, B-side, moves at place slightly faster than mid-tempo sounding like something off Lets Talk About Feelings, particularly the crowd favorite May 16th. Errands has that unmistakable vocal melody that only Joey Cape could provide and an almost metal tinged sound that was present on Duh and Trashed but fails to match up to anything from that early era. "Memoirs and Landmines" could have easily shown up on Double Plaidinum with a beat thats distinctly not ska, but still upbeat, emphasized, and sharp.
Vague lyrics that sound like that could be very specific but still general enough that any listener could feel it applies directly to their lives make up the songs contained on the album. The line Hail to the chief / Abusing his control / He could never weep / He lost his soul / To his ego sounds like it could be about President Bush or just an overzealous friend. The songs here are nothing we havent heard from the band, but something we simply havent heard in some time and I wonder now if even want to because while theyre good, they will never be Violins or Mr. Coffee.
Upon completing an early draft of this review I learned that Joey Cape would be releasing a solo project of his own featuring almost all of these same songs. Learning that I feel this album as nothing more than another item to have on the merch table. Again if they dont care anymore, why should we?
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