Lagwagon
Railer


4.3
superb

Review

by Atari STAFF
October 5th, 2019 | 39 replies


Release Date: 10/04/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Pure nostalgia

Lagwagon are the tits. It’s crazy to think a punk band that’s been around for 30 years can not only dodge sounding stale, but sound as captivating as these old punks do on Railer. Perhaps it’s due to a shorter writing process the band undertook this time to capture the good ol' days, but everything about their ninth album sounds fantastic. The bass really pops and there are slick guitar solos mixed in with heavier moments that completely shred. It’s nothing short of pleasing to the ears, thanks in part to the album’s sharp production. Railer is the ultimate Lagwagon album – perfectly molding their heavy and catchy sensibilities into a package that should please fans both old and new. It’s also the most ‘90s sounding album they’ve done since Let’s Talk About Feelings, so there’s that.

There was little doubt in my mind Railer would knock it out of the park. Lead singles “Bubble” and “Surviving California” crammed all of Lagwagon’s best traits into two of the most potent tracks of their career; the first being a skate-punk throwback and the latter leaning more towards the band’s abrasive metal roots. The rest of the album delivers upon the quality promised by these singles, with some unexpected curveballs. “Dangerous Animal” is one of Lagwagon’s most beastly moments – abruptly throwing multiple vocalists in the mix to form a chaotic hardcore track that thrives on its addictive harmonies. The track was written together as a band, and it really shows here with the collective spirit, energy and gang vocals that crash together in a quick two-minutes. It doesn’t take long into the album’s frenetic opener “Stealing Light” to make an impression, either. Kicking Lagwagon’s ninth album off with a reverberating bang, it’s a fine representation of what’s to follow; Joey Cape lays down some of his most sarcastic lyrics on the album over a slick guitar groove that proves irresistible.

From here onward, Railer never loses its momentum. Without a single ballad in sight, the album’s able to really soar from start to finish the way it was intended. It’s consistent as hell, but some tracks do stand out as more defining to the band’s legacy. I could spend the entirety of this review ranting on about how much I love “Bubble. One of my most-played tracks of the year, there’s a certain charm and warmth to it, but it’s the way the song stirs up such potent imagery of the past that has me gushing about it every chance I get. Let’s be clear: “Bubble” isn’t the heaviest or most musically adventurous number here, but it doesn’t have to be. While tracks like “Dangerous Animal” and “Fan Fiction” completely shred your face off, they just don’t connect with the listener in that same special way. Written from the perspective of the world in 1992, “Bubble” conjures up feelings of a simpler time with its cheerful melodies in a way that is stupid-effective. Cape’s story-writing chops and that undeniable sense of connection raise the track to the next level.

In a year where punk music has been decidedly nostalgic – we’ve seen the return of old favorites Good Riddance, Strung Out and more – Railer just might be the best of the bunch. It’s an adrenaline ride from start to finish that will have you grinning from ear to ear with a sense of pure joy. They’ve effectively captured their ‘90s glory days, and this album genuinely feels like it could have been released anytime between Trashed and Let’s Talk About Feelings. For the thirty minutes you listen to Railer, you’ll recall a simpler time. It’s the age of Ninja Turtles, Tony Hawk Pro-Skater, and Pogs (if you remember them)! Revisiting the past has never felt so damn good – so natural. It’s a nostalgic ride, but in a way that feels oddly refreshing. With all the social media and technology swallowing us whole, it’s a reminder of the pure simplicity we once experienced as kids – a feeling many spend their whole lives just trying to replicate. Railer is the throwback of all throwbacks, both lyrically and musically. The driving guitars of “Jini” sound like they belong on Green Day’s Dookie, and they’re met with an explosive and commanding chorus. This thing was meant to capture a retro vibe and it hits the nail on the head. Hell, just look at that album cover. The grand finale? An upbeat cover of Journey’s “Faithfully”! They make the track very much their own, molding the ‘80s favorite into a blistering punk tune with an optimistic touch. Railer is an album with the fun factor breaking through the roof, and it’s one of the strongest albums of Lagwagon’s career. Yup, this one’s a keeper.



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user ratings (54)
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Lender
October 5th 2019


116 Comments


Good review! Cant wait to give this a listen.

fromrows
October 5th 2019


309 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Great review, I am a Lagwagon fanboy but I genuinely think the album is amazing.

Digging: Lightning Bolt - Sonic Citadel

DeadBitchAlexis
October 5th 2019


2259 Comments


Been years since I bothered with any Lagwagon. Saw em opening with Propagandhi and Vandals for Rise Against when I was like 13-ish. One of the few concerts Ive been to. Was a whole fuckton of fun.

StrizzMatik
October 5th 2019


3856 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Fantastic record. The Suffering, Stealing Light, Bubble, Surviving California are instant classic, but every song smokes. Awesome review!

Digging: Lagwagon - Railer

Atari
Staff Reviewer
October 5th 2019


25000 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Cheers fellas



Strizz, I hope you still plan on covering this as well! I prolly focused too much on the nostalgic appeal (I’m a sentimental guy, what can I say) so I’m sure you could come up with something more profound





Observer
Staff Reviewer
October 5th 2019


7111 Comments


Im a pretty big bad astronaut fan, so Ill need to get on this

Digging: Caracara - Summer Megalith

SlothcoreSam
October 6th 2019


981 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Great review, and a really great album.

The best punk album of the year, and that is saying something considering all of the other great albums of that genre that I've checked out this year, over 100.

Digging: The Dead Love - The Extinction of Unicorns

Atari
Staff Reviewer
October 6th 2019


25000 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Bad Astronaut is awesome as well. Seems everything he's involved with is pretty damn solid. I need to listen to more of his solo stuff too



cheers Sloth! nice 5 ;)

TVC15
October 6th 2019


10232 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Faithfully goes off

Digging: Lycia - A Day in the Stark Corner

Piripichotes
October 6th 2019


540 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Great review.



This album is just wooooow... incredible, I thought nothing like this could ever be released again..



I catch a hidden emotive context in the whole record, maybe it's just nostalgia hitting me...

Awesomesauce
October 6th 2019


1090 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is surprisingly good! Production is on point as well. Best guitar tone I've heard from these guys.

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
October 7th 2019


3045 Comments


Very cute and fun review, big smile reading it. :3

A couple of maybe-typos if you care:
-- "dodge sounding state" ... stale?
-- "joey Cape" ... should Joey be capitalised?
-- "conjures of" ... conjures up?

Digging: Lil Tracy - Anarchy

Atari
Staff Reviewer
October 7th 2019


25000 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Much love blush :] and I always care! Fixed those up. Man, I read that as stale not state so many times lol, I’m terrible at proofreading



Have u heard this band?! Not sure if you’re into this style of punk rock or not, but I’ll be curious what you think if u listen to it

decisions
October 7th 2019


439 Comments


This album is fucking awesome

ProjectFreak
October 7th 2019


3919 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Few songs have had a chorus that immediately wrenches me from whatever I'm doing like Jini, what a banger



great writeup Atari -- something about this kind of skate punk keeps drawing me in, even though most of the time the schtick wears out before the album's half done. But if I can get a few good bops in this I'm happy

CaliggyJack
October 7th 2019


3082 Comments


I wanna listen to this based on that late 90's cover alone.

SymbolicInTime
October 8th 2019


4774 Comments


Damn, will have to check this

Digging: Jimmie's Chicken Shack - Pushing the Salmanilla Envelope

demonmind74
October 8th 2019


1 Comments


"Few songs have had a chorus that immediately wrenches me from whatever I'm doing like Jini, what a banger"

Long time reader, 1st time poster

Am I the only one who thinks the chorus to Jini sounds like Belinda Carlise's 'Heaven is a Place On Earth'?!

Great review and album though.

DePlazz
October 8th 2019


1667 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is prog metal with punky melodies. Since when is punk supposed to sound like this? Or is this just the contemporary Californian brand? Asking for a friend.

StrizzMatik
October 8th 2019


3856 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

>Prog metal with punky melodies

The fuck? And SoCal punk has sounded like this since Bad Religion's Suffer in 1988, homie



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