LAWRENCE ARMS, THE: Oh! Calcutta!: CD

Somehow, this is my first time hearing the Lawrence Arms. Their name was always bundled with Jawbreaker (as in “they sound like…”), and none of those bands that were supposed to sound like Jawbreaker ever really delivered. (You heard me.) So the Arms stayed under my radar and I can’t put Oh! Calcutta! in context with however many previous records they have. [Dramatic pause.] But this one is good! While Jawbreaker’s songs belied its members’ youth, the Arms still have a distinct feeling of “excited kids.” Even with most of the lyrics sticking to bummer territory, there’s an audible joy to be playing fast and yelling. WARNING: This next part of the review contains a SPOILER regarding the album’s SECRET TRACK. The Arms do country-rock, a catchy disillusionment/oh-yeah-that’s-why punk anthem that sounds as genuine as any other decent alt-country act. But those bands probably don’t write songs about punk rock or reference His Hero Is Gone in their lyrics. I’m seriously impressed.

 –guest (FAT)