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The Lawrence Arms | Oh Calcutta | review | punk | Lollipop

The Lawrence Arms

Oh! Calcutta! (Fat)
by Scott Hefflon

The Lawrence Arms are from Chicago, but you'd never know it from the gritty snarl of one of the band's two vocalists. His thick, gargled-glass vocals might sound screamy to some, but his "rabble-rabble" sounds like Timmy from South Park mixed with the guy from The Toy Dolls, and he's actually hitting all the right notes, so if you call 'em screamo, I'll track you down and beat your ass. The other singer seems to be singing less now, which is good, cuz he's a little whining pussy, throwing his voice in the general direction of the note he wants to hit, and why singers who do that aren't dragged from the stage and publicly flogged is beyond me.

Musically, yeah, they're from Chicago, and they make their punk as smart as they do melodic, and if they make it gruff like this, all the better. These guys make a tight racket for a three-piece, and this is their third full-length for Fat, I believe, after a couple for Asian Man won them indie cred, and as many fans as that small but cool label could reach. Fat picked 'em up and gave 'em a push, and you should drop to your knees and thank Fat daily for helping out solid bands like this.

Best thing about The Lawrence Arms? There are a handfulla choruses like "Jumping the Shark" (after a minute-long weak start) that rolls like Social D mixed with Randy in powerpop mode, the kinda stuff that'd make a great TV theme song, and not some forgettable MTV turd either, I mean something substantial like The Von Bondies did for Rescue Me. The Lawrence Arms are a class act, smart, gruff, melodic, and covers of their "Key to the City" should be played in punk dives coast to coast, the rapid-fire "Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme that key to the city" used as measuring stick to see which singers can pull it off and who needs another energy drink. Muscular, melodic punk rock at its finest.


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