Rhythm & Views

The Lawrence Arms

Jonesin' for a blast of loud, fast and snotty punk in an old-school style not beholden to anything vaguely emo? The Lawrence Arms are ready and willing to supply it with their latest album, mysteriously named for the infamous nudie play.

From the opening salvo of drums on "The Devil's Takin' Names," and escorted throughout by bassist Brendan Kelly's anguished adolescent shriek, these guys know their way around a mosh pit, or at least the stage in front of it.

Somewhat controversial for their outspoken nature, The Lawrence Arms take on the state of the union and romantic unions throughout these 12 songs. A wise-ass pop-cultural perspective, and the occasional blues progression, imbues abrasive, two- and three-minute explosions such as "Cut It Up," "Are You There Margaret? It's Me, God," "Lose Your Illusion 1" and "Jumping the Shark."

The final track, "Like a Record Player" offers a little more in the way of melody and a kind of prog-rock feel--sort of like At the Drive In meets The Dead Milkmen--before it gives way to a galloping cow-punk hidden track that sounds for all the world like the Supersuckers' more hazy twanging.

"Recovering the Opposable Thumb" offers a short break from the thrashing with an acoustic singer-songwriter-style opening, as Kelly croons, "Is there any hope for us, or are the rumors true? / Are we just the mulch and kindling that accrues?" Then it gets all crazy again.

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