A recipe for Lawrence Arms:
Start with Alkaline Trio, add one part Jawbreaker, 2 cups of gravel, some crunchy guitars, lots of tight drums and bass. Stir in lots of beer...and that's basically the Lawrence Arms for you.
Bad intros aside, The Lawrence Arms hail from Chicago, Illinois, and are a big part of an exploding punk scene in that city. They are also the latest and greatest addition to the Fat Wreck Chords roster. Their debut Fat Wreck album is "Apathy and Exhaustion", released February 12th. The band name is derived from a rundown appartment in Chicago they once called home, until they were evicted at 2am one night.
"Apathy and Exhaustion" is an excellent album from start to finish. The band employs 2 lead singers; 1 with a gravelly voice (who sings 2/3 of the time, and one with a cleaner voice (1/3 of the time). This approach keeps the cd really fresh as they alternate duties from song to song. And it doesn't hurt that one of them sounds like Blake Schwarzenbach of Jawbreaker.
The first song is entitled "Porno and Snuff Films" and while the title doesn't really reflect the song's content, this song is a perfect punk rock opener, perking your ears up for more. The second song is "The First Eviction Notice" and marks the first appearance of the secondary singer. This song is great, sounding an bit like Jawbreaker. It's not until song four, "Your Gravest Words" where the Jawbreaker sound is in full effect, marking it as my favorite song on the disc. The next song slows the tempo for a bit of a break in "Boatless Booze Cruise", which is a catchy little song once the tempo picks up. Pound for pound this cd is just solid, fast, raw, Chicago punk rock. Both singers are great, either could front the band solo, but having two just provides more variety and makes this disc more enjoyable. The final song is titled "Abracadaver" (clever pun), and it ties things up nicely. Only downside to this disc is the short play time just over 30 minutes (11 songs)...but in today's music world, that's a pretty average length.
The album cover and cd art are outstanding on this disc, done by Mad Skillz with awesome illustrations by Josh Marshall. On the whole this is just a great disc. If you like Alkaline trio or Jawbreaker then you definitely should own this cd, and if you like good punk albums this would be worth picking up. A great addition to the Fat roster and a great addition to my cd collection. I'll definitely be looking into more releases by this band.
A nearly perfect album in my opinion. It's in heavy heavy rotation in my cd player.