LAWRENCE ARMS, THE: Buttsweat and Tears: 7"

Mar 05, 2010

Despite the weakness of the record’s art and design (seriously, who at Fat is responsible for this recent glut of faux-’70s crud? It’s garbage! Stop it!) and the lame-the-first-time title, this band still slays. More importantly, ten years together and they’re getting noticeably better. That’s the part that still throws me. I thought their last full-length, Oh Calcutta! was arguably their best effort and this new four-songer (five if you count the digital-only song that’s available at Fat’s website) is right up there. The hooks are wickedly sharp and reaching, the lyrics tackle regret and joy and throw them together in a cement tumbler, and the music itself, to me, would be considered pop punk only loosely at this point. There’s a lot more depth and ferocity here than a label like that implies. From the familiar (restlessness and torpor in “The Slowest Drink in the Saddest Bar…”) to the newly explored (the flatly menacing country vibe threaded throughout “The Redness in the West”), this record’s one of the best things they’ve ever done. Awesome times three.

 –keith (Fat)