After an extended period of dormancy, The Lawrence Arms are back with a new album in tow. The long delayed, ‘Metropole’ finally arrives eight years on from the release of ‘Oh! Calcutta!’ the bands last LP. Held up by family commitments, day jobs and a seemingly endless slew of side projects, this one is overdue to put it mildly.
Despite the prolonged absence this album doesn’t deviate too far from the formula used on previous outings. No frills punk rock is still very much the order of the day. The band hasn’t lost their knack for it either. On album opener Chilean District they show they can still play as fast and as hard as anyone. Hickey Avenue and Drunk Tweets further the point. The former is a high octane power punk number that brings to mind Rancid in their pomp. The latter an expletive-laden blast of hardcore punk.
As well as restoring their hardcore credentials, the band also displays that they still have an ear for a melody. You Are Here is a classic pop punk cut that brings to mind Alkaline Trio. Seventeener (17th and 37th) is even sweeter and more melodic. The YMCA Down The Street From The Clinic is the pick of the bunch- infectious, funny and full of swagger.
The rest of the album follows suit with the band rotating between catchy pop punk numbers and more visceral hardcore cuts. Does it get derivative? Put it this way, this album certainly won’t be winning any prizes for innovation any time soon. This certainly isn’t ‘Kid A’. In its favour though, the fervour and energy of the music does go a long way towards making up for the lack of originality. It all makes for a better than average punk rock album, one that heralds a solid rather than glorious return by The Lawrence Arms.