LAWRENCE ARMS, THE: Cocktails and Dreams: CD

It’s always nice to get something for review that you would’ve bought anyway. This is a collection of singles, stuff from splits, comp tracks, and a handful of unreleased or re-recorded songs. They put out two full-lengths on Asian Man before jumping to Fat. I think their Fat debut, Apathy and Exhaustion, is easily their most consistent and solid record—some of the songs on there will probably wind up on my mixtapes for years to come. One of the greatest assets this band has is the ability to write the most acerbic, haunting, and self-loathing lyrics ever, and then follow them up with some of the most hilarious (but still self-deprecating) liner notes I’ve ever read. Couple this with the fact that it’s pop punk, but top-notch, catchy-as-shit pop punk. The vocals are shared ala Dillinger Four between the guy that sings clean and the guy that sings snotty—at their worst, they’re a decent band. At their best, they’re frickin anthemic. Yeah, they’re self-absorbed, but they’re good enough songwriters that the songs have the ability to stay with the listener for days at a stretch. About the best compliment I can think of for a band of this nature: even without headphones, this shit plays in my head when I walk down the street. Cocktails and Dreams is a nice addition to an already pretty solid discography.

 –keith (Asian Man)