Lagwagon - Resolve (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Resolve (2005)

Fat Wreck Chords

Drama, the suicide of original drummer Derrick Plourde a couple months ago, was the catalyst for Joey Cape's inspiration to write this 9th full-length of my (once) holy Lagwagon. And never in my 37-year old life have I been moved as much by music and especially these lyrics as with these dozen songs that are so much more than an epitaph on a great musician's grave. For me, while I never actually knew the guy, it's not the homage to Plourde that really touched me, but we all are pretty aware of what sorrow an act like this causes to all people close to him. And that's what comes through in these songs as far as I'm concerned; in the first place the unbelief, the questions unresolved and the doubts that clearly haunt Joey, but also the comfort he's offering to Plourde's relatives and his attempt to rid them of their guilty feelings. I'm not an emotional guy really, but these lyrics really gave me the shivers at times.

Strangely though, and especially considering the more emotional direction Joey headed with his side band Bad Astronaut, the music on this album is Lagwagon at its best. Sure, some of the songs are opening with a laid-back intro, and of course there's the obligatory acoustic swansong at the end, but the energy and melodicy of most of these songs can be tracked back to Lagwagon's haydays when they released albums like Trashed or maybe even more appropriately, Hoss. A lot of these songs reminded me of the song "Violins" on that one. Undoubtedly, the lyrics prevent a joyous feeling to go with these sounds, but Lagwagon always has been more than "just another fun punk band," if you don't take their first release Duh into account. Maybe I have to admit that even I sometimes wonder whether this sound hasn't been (re)produced and used too much over the last 15 years, but still there's only a couple bands that can deliver it in a package like this. For sure, I think they did something far better than anything I have heard from them since Hoss, (although Double Plaidinum had a few marvels), so what better recognition of Plourde's musicianship could there have been than creating an album that sounded as if he was sitting behind that kit?

Resolve is the title of the album, and although I doubt that questions will be answered with this release, for sure it re-confirms that energetic punk music can be heartfelt, earnest and moving. It at least made me write a review again after many uninspired months.