Aug 22, 2006

I would be the first to admit that I have too much music. I buy it, trade for it, and obviously get a lot to review. I am very possessive of what I have. I am not too quick at going through and thinning down the collection and removing items I will never listen to ever again. I have thinned down the CDs only a couple of times in the last ten years. So the problem is, “Can I remember a lot of times what something sounds like?” No. Only a small percentage gets on a heavy rotation. A bigger percentage gets on the ipod. But that is way under the fiftieth percentile. One of the bands that I don’t listen to that often at all and have never gotten rid of their releases is Lagwagon. They have been around for fifteen-plus years now and I have many of their releases. I listened to each of them a few times and filed them away to be never pulled again. But those few times I did purge, I could not get myself to relinquish my ownership. So here I am again. Another new release and I like what I hear. A coming home of sorts. Hey, they put melodicore on the map as much as NOFX and Bad Religion did. So as I sit here and type and listen to their new release, a funny thought keeps running through my mind. Man, this sounds like Pulley! I do pull out the Pulley releases from time to time. But the reference should be in the opposite direction. Lagwagon has been around longer than Pulley and most likely influenced them. But the sound to my ears is undeniable. The resemblance is almost uncanny on this release: straight forward melodic punk that they have been the flag carriers for over a decade and clean guitars over solidly recorded bass and driving drum sounds that makes you feel energized. The songs have the classic sound but also continues to show growth in their song writing. Instead of a burst of energy and stopping, there is more focus on the emotion of the song. “Automatic” clearly expresses that thought. There is also that underlying tone of sadness in the songs. The tragedy of the death of original drummer Derrick Plourde seems to have really shaken up the band. It is written that after the incident, the band wrote this album in a few short months. A sad circumstance really pushed this band. Loyal fans have already bought this. Newcomers who are curious will not go wrong if this is the genre that they are looking for. Now let’s see if this ever comes out for another listen after it gets filed.

 –don (Fat)