Review Summary: The Lawrence Arms continue their ascent to the top of the punk food chain with the great Ghost Stories
After the less than stellar debut album A Guided Tour Of Chicago
hit shelves, The Lawrence Arms needed their next album to be brilliant to finally match the formal glory of the boy's previous band The Broadways. Did the band's second album Ghost Stories
meet these expectations? Well no, but it's still a great album and a worthy edition to any punk's discography who just can't get enough Larry Arms.
On Ghost Stories
The Lawrence Arms inch closer to their future trademark sound. This release is catchier and has some better tunes than their debut, but it still doesn't live up to later releases. The biggest addition is that Chris sings lead on 2 or 3 songs instead of the whopping zero he sang lead on the debut. Chris' songs stand out on Ghost Stores
because they're catchier and have more interesting instrumentation and structure. Chris was also finally starting to find his voice, but don't get me wrong, he still sounds rougher than socks made out of sand paper, but it's still a step up to how he sounded on A Guided Tour Of Chicago
and with The Broadways. Chris' major contributions "Turnstyles" and "Light Breathing" gives a taste of the direction that band would be going in on their next album, and the much needed dichotomy between the singers/songwriters that make The Lawrence Arms truly special.
While Ghost Stories
is great, it isn't really essential, even for Lawrence Arms fans. The band was still very rough and still searching for their sound, plus the best songs (Turnstyles and the brilliant four part closer) were re-recorded for the band's b-sides release Cocktails and Dreams. Ghost Stories
would have been more appreciated when it came out because honestly it just doesn't live up to the band's later works. Ghost Stories
is an album that if released by another band it would have received more attention, but unfortunately it will only be known as the second weakest album by the best band in the scene, but I suppose that's good enough.