Review: The Lawrence Arms latest Metropole
After about eight years away – not counting the creation of several side-projects – The Lawrence Arms are back with their long-awaited sixth full-length album on Epitaph Records. It has literally been the better part of a decade, save a couple of low key EPs, since the band has given fans a full disc’s worth of material. With the exception of their News from Yalta 7-inch, Metropole is the band’s first release for the Epitaph label.
Metropole comes off as an exercise in collective reassurance in ways. Fans of their previous work are going to discover a more mature Lawrence Arms who are, in fact, somewhat older, but no less capable of producing an album’s worth of material that is both entertaining and enjoyable to both established fans and newcomers to the group. Much of Metropole can in many ways sound like a throwback to animated 1990s punk rock which Epitaph Records was at the forefront of producing. With that said, The Lawrence Arms’ Metropole is right at home on its current label.
“Chilean District” is a short but sweet introduction of sorts to this retrospective foray into the glory of infectious laden punk rock release. Metropole definitely provides high-energy tracks like “You Are Here,” “Hickey Avenue,” “Acheron River,” and “Drunk Tweets,” which goes off with reckless punk abandon. By the same token, Metropole maintains a youthful yet noticeably seasoned knowledge of what made punk rock fun during its ’90s resurgence. Songs such as “Beautiful Things” and the super catchy lead single, “Seventeener (17th & 37th)” have a pop sensibility that can linger in the mind long after the songs have ceased.
The Lawrence Arms have created a well-crafted twelve song release that shows growth and maturity in many ways, while hanging on to the elements that make what they do fun and entertaining. The guitars ring nicely and carry the tunes effortlessly, and the vocals give the songs meaning and life no matter how serious or tongue-in-cheek the content may be. Maybe it was their time away, but The Lawrence Arms have released a fairly memorable record that recalls a time not so long ago. It’s somewhat of a reminder of a time when punk rock found its second life and had the ability to carry valid meaning and many of the records produce sonic gratification from beginning to end.