Review Summary: Nothing exciting about this release.
Lagwagon albums have always been something that I’ve eagerly anticipated. With each new release I knew that I could count on high-quality punk that would deliver intelligent riffs and arrangements that somehow didn’t sound like everyone else. Of course it wasn’t just the riffs that kept me coming back for more, it was also the lyrics and catchy choruses courtesy of Joey Cape; a man capable of writing about serious topics as easily as he could write an amusing song about something totally random. Within the last six years, though, a new EP is an even bigger deal because no one seems to know if another release is even coming. Fortunately, the band has found it in their hearts to deliver us at least one more set of new songs; unfortunately the songs aren’t all that exciting.
The opening song, “B Side” starts out with potential by utilizing a semi-technical riff reminiscent of their earlier days, and a quick tempo but it quickly degrades into a fairly standard mid-paced punk song with no real hook. It’s not often that I’m disappointed by something associated with Lagwagon, but this EP is a disappointment. Listening to subsequent tracks yields pockets of under-developed potential surrounded by large amounts of standard mid-paced punk. Every song has something about it that could have made it great, but those elements never get a chance to make an impact. There’s a quick lounge section in “Fallen” that could have really given the song its own identity but it is quickly overtaken by another standard mid-paced punk riff and is only quickly revisited later in the song. Worse are the songs such as “No Little Pill” and “Mission Unaccomplished” that don’t even have a negligible element to help it become anything other than average.
Not everything about this EP is average, though; there are those pockets of quality that I had alluded to earlier. The main source for quality is the song “Errands” which is not only the most energetic song on the EP, but also the catchiest and features a cool (yet brief) guitar solo as well. “Live it Down” is also a nice departure from the norm with its surf rock vibe contrasted with the serious lyrics. After those two songs all other quality elements have to be picked out of their average surroundings. A good example of that is the bass player who does a fine job on songs such as “Memoirs and Landmines” of creating some cool rhythms and bass lines that help to prop up the mostly-standard riffing. As cool as his bass playing is, though, it’s just not enough to truly elevate the quality of most of these songs.
I wish I had more positives to report, but after three years Lagwagon has only managed to release nineteen minutes of new music and it’s just not that interesting. For fans of the band no review is going to stop you from getting this EP but you should know that there isn’t anything as edgy as on Resolve
or as catchy as what is found on Let’s Talk About Feelings
and the humor of Duh
is sadly absent. Overall this EP has some interesting elements and even two good songs, but those positives hardly make up for the bulk of this EP which is simply a listenable, but generally uninteresting experience.