The Lawrence Arms - Apathy and Exhaustion (Cover Artwork)

The Lawrence Arms

The Lawrence Arms: Apathy and ExhaustionApathy and Exhaustion (2002)
Fat Wreck Chords

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:

Contributed by: wyzowyzo
(others by this writer | submit your own)

      Before I give my decree of quality to this album, Some history on my musical relationship with the arms, and the L. Arms own past releases.       Asian man records is big on an incestuous band roster. Slapstick broke up and the new bands got signed, the broadways, and Tuesday brea.
iTunes StoreAmazon

      Before I give my decree of quality to this album, Some history on my musical relationship with the arms, and the L. Arms own past releases.

       Asian man records is big on an incestuous band roster. Slapstick broke up and the new bands got signed, the broadways, and Tuesday break up, and so on. From the big 'split' of mainly Slapstick and Broadways, came the holy trinity. The Lawrence Arms, The Honor System, and The Alkaline Trio (give or take some members going to other than these 3 bands).

      Now, this three headed hydra is comprised of 3 bands that are so very different and unique from one another, yet at the same time you cant listen to all three without noticing some shared undercurrents as to song tempos, lyrical themes. Each has its own take on the basic underlying foundation. Its impossible to lay down concrete items of difference or similarity between these bands, but the alk3 tends to have a certain lyrical angle while the L. arms(more jawbreakeresque[though that doesnt do them justice]) and honor system (a political undertone to some songs) have another. The best way to explain is to say they are a three sided coin.

       The Lawrence arms past releases go as follows. The first LP 'guided tour of chicago' was primarily full of Bren's songs (the one with the gruff voice), and was good but nothing amazing (diamond in the rough). Then the 'Ghost stories' LP, with a better balance between Chris (the cleaner vocals) and Bren's songs, and overall better songs. This was what got me to pay attention to the Arms, and lyrically, this album is perfect, and beats the shit out of the theatric alk3 lyrics.
      At this point I thought they weren't perfect but if they kept improving with every release they would get there.

      So as most have written about their split CD's, so will I. After 'Ghost stories' they released two split cd's. The first being with shady view terrace, and the latest one being with the Chinkess. The splits weren't hampered by the challenge of consistency with the low amount of songs involved, and the Shady view terrace split finally had someone produce the album that let you HEAR THERE FUCKING VOCALS! And after that great split, they came out with the chinkees split much to my and collective amazement. The four songs on there are possibly the best Lawrence arms songs out there. The production is the best on all the releases, and the mixing in prticular lets you hear what you need to.

      Present day, "Apathy and Exhuastion" is released. How does this fare with past records, and expectations?

      As to competing with past records, its easily and fully the best full length they have put out (consistency once lacking is not a problem here). To say the split with the Chinkees is better takes away the length factor, more songs inherently is going to mean a longer experience is going to be needed to listen to it, and appreciate there songs. This records power, and why it is better than their split, and the best record theyve done, is that the split songs referred to commonly as being 'hits' (god knows why) hit you. They came out and grabbed you. Part of this can be attributed to the nature of EP's to be short and sweet.

      "Apathy and Exhaustion" gets its strength in that it isnt a quick shot of energy, but a consistent and dynamic flow of song tempos, styles, and nuance. It isnt an all at once smack in the face, its the slow and subtle erosion of your soul and body over the course of a two year premeditated scheme to KILL your pathetic bad taste in music. This record has been better on EVERY repeat listen. They dont hit you all at once, but sink in. Where an average song once stood, I began to notice the cadence of the vocals, or the overall play with mood.

      The first three songs open it up, and by the bridge of 'Navigating the windward passage" its a decent record. Its in the 4-9 middle stretch that pops one after another. "Your Gravest Words" anemic verse builds up to the swelling and cold chorus declaring,

"I am a sattelite never getting signals right, You are a constellation, I can barely make you out tonight, the city lights are burning too bright"

      With "Brickwall views", Chris' voice returns and gives more of what "Your gravest words" and later "Right as Rain" hold. The song is more structured and built up than old Lawrence arms songs, and is sung in a more harmonic way than we've seen. The break in the song, and return to the last verse,

"Is there a gesture I could use to clearly express I'm at another loss for words"

makes this my favorite song on the disc.

Two of Bren's songs "Ill take whats in the box monty", and "The corpses of our motivations" feature new song elements for the arms, a rocking breakdown at the end of "monty", and in "Corpses", a quiet break with strummed guitar in the background in the middle of the song with Chris' vocals rejoining with,

"Sleep all day, drink your life away, its another step closer to the comfort of the grave"

before Bren's vocals and the guitars crash back in.

Lastly, I want to point out in "Boatless Booze Cruise (part 1)" and "Right as Rain (part 2)" the recurring theme of forgetfullness that echoes the great last line "I wish I could remember what i'm trying to forget" from "A boring story" on the Shady view terrace split. In "Booze Cruise" bittersweet chorus which in text is lacking Bren's great rhythm in the delivery,

"dont forget to forget you forgot me when I show up at your door, I'm going to remember that you are my friend, and fall asleep on the floor"

And once more in "Rain"s chorus,

"Scavenger Savior, dont forget to never remember, you haven't laughed in such a long time".

Its in this way you can start to wonder why the songs are part 1 and part 2.

      All in all, a great album, meeting my expectations and more. Both songwriters I feel stepped up, and matched each other's songs. I'm looking forward to the bsides from this album which I'm sure will pop up on this years fat comp. and elsewhere. If you only marginally like this record at first (me for instance), give it 3-4 more spins in a different place, and little by little, you'll be driving 2 hours home listening to this over and over(me again).


People who liked this also liked:
The Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!The Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldAlkaline Trio - GoddamnitAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyJawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge TherapyDescendents - Milo Goes To CollegeOperation Ivy - Operation IvyAgainst Me! - Searching For A Former ClarityThe Clash - London Calling

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
wyzo (March 17, 2011)

I just can't accurately quote lyrics in my reviews. Probably why I stopped. And age.

BadSceneYourFault (May 8, 2009)

Great fucking record!

aubin (February 23, 2009)


PtvnSux94 (December 3, 2008)

Great band, great record. This album has my favorite Larry Arms song, "Porno and Snuff Films"

balaka2 (August 23, 2008)

absofriggintootalootly awesome album. i can listen to this over and over and over again. classic

slymer (December 19, 2007)

My favorite Lawrence Arms record. Chris steals the show on this one.

Mrdogg45 (December 14, 2006)

Put this one in the upper echelon of pop punk records. This belongs along side "24 Hour Revenge Therapy" "Don't Turn Away" and "Goddamnit".

mclz (August 14, 2006)

i fucking love this record
it doesnt have my favorite song by them (old mexico way) on it
but it is my favorite record by the band

jumptheshark (July 25, 2006)

god i love this band....this album is really where they come into their own and find their sound. "guided tour.." and "ghost stories" are solid and worth owning, but the most recent 4 are golden

Anonymous (November 25, 2005)

That was a really informative review

Anonymous (May 13, 2005)

one of the best punk rock albums i´ve ever listened to.
Heartfelt and intelligent lyrics combined with raw punk rock music.
Simply genious

Kid_Dynamite (February 16, 2003)

"Does seem a little like what would happen if Alkaline got in a car accident with Dillenger 4."

i think this comparison fits...

good review!

M4CH1N3 (January 31, 2003)

Abra-Cadaver hahaha thats brilliant

Anonymous (January 8, 2003)

You gave a ten to the new NUFAN, so I'm not sure if I'm gonna buy this one.

Anonymous (September 22, 2002)

direct quote from chris to follow up yoiur commment. "i think we sound like the middle ground between d4 and alkaline trio" booyaa! they crashed at my apt and we got hella drunk after plea for peace in pittsburgh this year.

TenderBransonX (August 10, 2002)

Good shit. Does seem a little like what would happen if Alkaline got in a car accident with Dillenger 4.

cawknocker (July 18, 2002)

one of the ten best albums of 2002 so far...and probably will stay that way. amazing lyrics. def. hear the alk3 similarity, but deeper/more clever and less relationship w/ chicks based, also it comes across as a little more punk rock.nevermind. chris' songs are very alk3 esque. great opener, navigating, gravest words, the closer...all good tracks.gr8 album to relate to if your depressed, but even in a good mood its fun.

ApAtHeTiC-BaNd-GeEk (June 18, 2002)

I do think that this sounds a bit like alkaline trio, but who cares. Its just a great punk rock record. The songs are more of a deep, meaningful kind of stuff. Excellent. Just plain excellent. Its sounds to me, somewhat like Alkaline Trio meets Strike Anywhere with some more emo kinda stuff in there in the lighter songs. It took me a few listens to really grasp this entire album, but, the best ones are always like that. GO AND BUY THIS! You're not going to regret it.

Anonymous (April 23, 2002)

wyzo, awesome review of an awesome band. why are there so many retarded shit talkers? my fucking word. it's awful. bren's bass lines rock hard too... get this album, everybody, will not regret it.. it will be top5 of the year, oh fo sho.

Anonymous (March 24, 2002)

hot damn do i love the lawrence arms! seriously, they're fucking incredible! give them their own logo. not fucking shit bands like weezer and bad religion. honestly, two of the most overrated bands ever. they're shit! complete shit! give lawrence arms their own logo for news pertaining to them! who's with me?!

Dr. Richard Letsbeons

Anonymous (March 23, 2002)

I thought the review was really good, I havent got around to buying this yet but I have some past releases by them and I think I'll check this out.

Anonymous (March 12, 2002)

I was actually thinking the exact same thing.....sometimes they sound a bit like NFAA and sometimes alkaline trio.

wyzo (March 10, 2002)

Me too guy below, why cant people just write reviews, why do they have to write strings of adjectives, verbs, and the odd preposition.

I'm so sick of buzzwords. Like the word 'buzzword'.

And I don't want to read a thesis. By thesis, I mean anything that requires me to use the ounce of mental energy I have reserved for my lackluster jaunt of masturbation in a manner that is fitting of a person thats not a complete FUCKING MORON. Just dumb it down for me, because you know, a fashionable dislike of intilligence is punk rock.

So no anecdotes, context, or reflection, just a plain vanilla 'me likee' review. And no use of metaphor, or compound sentences, JUST A STRAIGHT REVIEW, please I can't handle anymore complication in my life that proper written communication of ideas and information delivers.


Anonymous (March 7, 2002)

I don't want mindless reviews that spew out buzzwords and blah blah shit like that, but I also don't want a thesis or some charming story about how someone discovered the wonders of crystal meth or lost their virginity while hearing an album. can anyone just write an actual review?

Anonymous (March 6, 2002)

Hey, I thought that was a good review, give him a break. And it's intelligent but not that difficult to understand.
By the way, the record rocks.

wyzo (March 5, 2002)

the people on this site rate a review based on how many mindless superlatives they use and how much they sound like a blurb off a press sheet, than my review sucked.

I wrote a review, not an analysis. I'm sorry I got into what the records substance is, got a little brainy all of a sudden.

There are ways of writing reviews that dont include the same dozen adjectives over and over. 'its awesome', 'it blows', 'dude, you ever see alf?'.

But if thats what you want,

Anonymous (March 4, 2002)

Yep, this record gets better every time you hear it. True dat.

Anonymous (March 4, 2002)

thanks for the analysis, next time an actual review would be appreciated.

Anonymous (March 4, 2002)

do people on this website need a dictionary to understand what the word "review" means?

Anonymous (March 3, 2002)

man Wyzo, did you rush that review or something? I mean, your ideas were right on (i agree that the chinkees split is fucking great as well...nothing beats 100 resolutions) but man, I don't know...i found this review awfully hard to read...i expect more from you man...especially for a band as deserving as TLA...

and the lyrics in "brickwall view" are "Is there a gesture I could use to clearly express I'm at UTTER loss for words"...not another...

That's all though...i definitly agree this album is just about one of the rockinest things I have heard in a long time...


Anonymous (March 2, 2002)

this is a great record from one of the most consistently improving, consistently misanthropic, and consistently drunk rock bands from the midwest.

your review didn't do it justice. what exactly were you trying to point out by talking about the idea of forgetfullness in their lyrics? it sounded like you were writing a paper for class. either way, this is a great record.

nova (March 1, 2002)

This is definitly one of the best albums out so far this year. They also put on a rockin show. Put simply - Lawrence Arms rock

Anonymous (February 28, 2002)

Lawrence arms will bend you over and fuck you in the ass wednesday with their midwestern beerbelly despair rock maelstrom. ***vladimir hubitcherkokov***

Aubin (February 28, 2002)

Great review. Awesome record too. The second singer sounds so much like Blake from Jawbreaker it's creepy. Right down to the metaphors and pseudo-British pronounciation. I'm going to look for the Honor System now too.

sickboi (February 28, 2002)

Great review, great album. Does anyone else think they sound like some sort of weird Alkaline Trio-No Fun at All- Dillinger 4 hybrid?

Exclusive Streams


Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Managing Editor

Adam White

Contributing Editors

Kira Wisniewski Brittany Strummer Armando Olivas John Flynn Chris Moran John Gentile Mark Little

Copy Editor

Adam Eisenberg Britt Reiser

Podcast Producer

Greg Simpson


Aubin Paul

ISSN 1710-5366

© Copyright 1999-2013 Punknews.org

Terms of Use Privacy Policy Contact Us About Punknews.org

Other Places to Go