Lake Effect - American Sarcasm (Cover Artwork)

Lake Effect

American Sarcasm (2015)

Sniffling Indie Kids

I have always been intrigued by concept albums. It strikes me as more interesting: Extra thought has gone into the LP if there is at the very least a theme involved, rather than a band gradually making songs and realizing, “Oh cool we have 12, time to record an album!” So I was happy when I read one of NJ’s best bands was releasing one.

The concept for Lake Effect's new is simple: American Sarcasm is divided into thirds (nine songs total) and each third represents three phases of life: Your childhood, your adolescence, and “failure,” presumably meaning that life seems to get away from you in your 20s and 30s.

Of course none of this would matter if the songs weren’t good, but luckily they are. What the band does best is they don’t exactly stick to one style. Lake Effect is not afraid to dive into all different sub-sects of indie rock/punk/alternative rock.

The record kicks off with perhaps its best track, “Television,” the brightest and most optimistic track of the collection, setting an extremely catchy tone. “Phantom” closes out the Childhood section as an ode to the lost innocence of that time, with a fantastic slower jangle groove that is unlike the rest of the album.

Adolescence opens with “When You’re Alone,” a fantastic pop punk song played at a Weezery pace. “Nightstand,” the Adolescence closer is dirgey and heavy with a sedated vocal delivery by singer/guitarist Max Rauch repeating the memorable couplet “cigarettes on the nightstand/will only shorten my lifespan.”

Lake Effect saved the best third for last with Failure, starting with the album’s most memorable track ”Puppet Show.” A punk song with a garage rock dancey feel played almost too fast for the rhythm, it’s an indictment of our negative societal constructs and their home governor Chris Christie. “Dasha” grungily tells the tale of an alcoholic, while album ender “Baby Teeth” hosts a later era Brand Newish sound.

At a scant 29 minutes and convenient the price of free, there’s no reason to not check out it out.