February 21, 2002

Test Spin: Lawrence Arms – Apathy and Exhaustion

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This little album at first seems like another group of teen hopefuls who’ve sold their souls for a shot at sounding like Blink 182 or Jimmy Eat World. Much like Sum 41, the members of The Lawrence Arms are young and enthusiastic. This counts for something, but if their album had followed the trend set by its first three tracks I would have chucked it out the window. Luckily, things pick up with the sixth track entitled “Brickwall Views” in which the singer muses, “Is there a gesture I could use to clearly express I’m at an utter loss for words?” This lyricism isn’t something typical of young poppy punkers. It’s a nice deviation from the Lagwagons and Blinks of the world. This is a punk more along the lines of Ben Lee’s early work with Noiseaddict — a sound that really comes through on songs like “I’ll Take What’s in the Box, Monty.” Here, what seems to be the band’s own voice comes through beautifully. With a little luck, some voice lessons, and some chest hair, The Lawrence Arms might be able to drop the Blink echoes and stand on their own legs.

Archived article by Nate Brown