The Lawrence Arms
A Guided Tour of Chicago


3.0
good

Review

by Robert Lowe STAFF
July 22nd, 2012 | 28 replies


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A band with a lot of potential that would go on to great things unfortunately starts off with a mediocre record.

After The Broadways broke up, members Chris McCaugh and Brendan Kelly decided against going in a completely different direction, and stuck to writing melodic punk tunes with relatable lyrics and while it would eventually pay off as the band built on their sound, here it just sounds like rehashing old ideas and treading water. It's hard to differentiate between this album and a Broadways album besides the lack of three singers, and well the decline in quality. The Lawrence Arms had yet found their place writing gritty pop punk, and here continue with more standard melodic punk that they were already doing in The Broadways. A Guided Tour Of Chicago boils down to a mediocre version of the record these guys made in their previous band, and it really doesn't show off their potential.

Unlike with The Broadways where Chris sang lead on about a third of the tracks, here he sings lead on zero tracks. He's limited to very minimal backing vocals and only major backing vocals in a couple songs like The Northside. Because of this this album lacks the variety of their later records and is considerably less catchy and melodic because Chris tends to write the more poppy tunes. With Chris mostly out of the picture this is Brendan's show. I speculate that Chris wasn't confident with his voice at the time and didn't want to sing lead in The Lawrence Arms, but later changed his mind when he got better and discovered auto-tune. Whatever the reasoning was, A Guided Tour Of Chicago suffers for it.

The Northside is a really catchy song, and of course it's the one song where Chris makes has a major presence. It has some nice trade of vocals and is more reminiscent of The Lawrence Arms later work Oh! Calcutta! This track is really the only one worth mentioning.

A Guided Tour Of Chicago is missing at least half of what makes The Lawrence Arms so great, and it's not particularly catchy or unique. The Lawrence Arms really didn't find their sound for another couple albums. They've had almost the complete opposite development cycle as fellow Chicago punk band Alkaline Trio, where the Trio started off with their best records and got progressively worse from there. I guess it's better to start off rough and get better from there, and that's really the best thing I can say about this record. I'd only recommend it for die hard Lawrence Arms fans.



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user ratings (90)
Chart.
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
July 22nd 2012


55294 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

My worst review yet, I really didn't have much to say about this one but hey I'm doin all of em so there ya go

Get Broken Star instead

Digging: Khmer - Larga Sombra

Terrific
July 22nd 2012


34 Comments


bad review

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
July 22nd 2012


55294 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks cone

Terrific
July 22nd 2012


34 Comments


who

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
July 22nd 2012


55294 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

How hot out of ten is Rosa Parks?

Terrific
July 22nd 2012


34 Comments


are you related to rosa parks??? cause shes fiiiiiiiiiine.

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
July 22nd 2012


55294 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i wish but I don't have any african blood in me

Terrific
July 22nd 2012


34 Comments


niggers are gross

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
July 22nd 2012


55294 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

no have you even seen levar burton is he the opposite of gross

Spec
July 22nd 2012


34766 Comments


cone is a racist

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
July 22nd 2012


55294 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is confirmed



Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
July 22nd 2012


55294 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

He is the only true larry arms/alkaline trio buddy I have

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
July 22nd 2012


55294 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

ok well where is your rating then

Have you even heard The Broadways or Slapstick?



Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
July 22nd 2012


55294 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Right on

Spare
July 22nd 2012


5567 Comments


rad band also the cover looks kinda looks like let it be by the replacements

tom79
July 22nd 2012


3587 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Weakest Larry Arms album but still good. Finally seeing these guys in September gonna be sweeet.

Digging: Van Morrison - Saint Dominic's Preview

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
July 22nd 2012


55294 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Shit man that's gonna be awesome



Ire
July 23rd 2012


41948 Comments


wheres scatellite

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
July 23rd 2012


55294 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I know, I don't think he commented on my last review either

what a meanie

Satellite
July 23rd 2012


25477 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

dudes i worked 33 hours this weekend. shit sucked the dick off a dog, to borrow a phrase from this band's bassist.



i have a mostly-complete review of this sitting around somewhere from years ago. was gonna be my first but i didn't like it so i just decided to stick with the dick jokes. maybe someday i'll post all my reviews at once or something idk.



good job mr. lowe.

Digging: The Mountain Goats - Marsh Witch Visions



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