I Think My Older Brother Used to Listen to Lagwagon
So Lagwagon released a new album. A bit of a preface here, I have never really cared for Lagwagon. They have that similar sound, you know? That usual ‘Fat Wreck’ sound, a sound that Fat Wreck has dealt with criticism in the past.
I don’t dislike that Fat Wreck sound, honestly, and it isn’t even a bad thing, not whatsoever. But something about Lagwagon has always struck me as, well…just kind of bland. And not bland as in untalented, but bland as in by the time I discovered Lagwagon, I’d already heard what they were playing a hundred times over.
So with the release of Lagwagon’s new EP, I Think My Older Brother Used To Listen To Lagwagon, I thought, well…it’s a Lagwagon record I’m not going to care about. I really respect and like Joey Cape though. I do. The guy is charismatic, seems genuine, sincere and is obviously very talented. All of Lagwagon are talented musicians.
And with I Think My Older Brother… they really show their diversity. The EP starts out a bit slow, with “B Side”. It wasn’t necessarily bad, but it had the same trappings of a Lagwagon song. What was really cool though, is the several time-changes in the beginning. “No Little Pill” never really picks up (even though it’s well written lyrically) but just kind of bland. “Errands” is feels almost forced in the intro, but theres a guitar solo in this song that is amazing. But by the time it comes back to the original tempo the song never achieves what it has the potential for.
But after the first three songs, which felt a bit…middle of the road, Lagwagon comes strong and they come correct. “Memoirs and Landmines” is so fucking catchy, it should be illegal. Heroin isn’t even this addictive. “Fallen” offers a major deviation from every track prior, and fully embodies the depth of musical capabilities each one of the respective members of Lagwagon. It compliments Capes vocals perfectly. “Live it Down” strikes me as something that could have been on Bad Astronaut (from the last album), but by God, that is not a bad thing whatsoever. When the tempo picks up, it hits the mark dead on and the passion heard in Capes voice is so believable, I found myself pausing the CD momentarily to let it all soak in.
The album closes out with “Mission Unaccomplished.” The track is tight, and versatile. It’s a perfect closer.
In conclusion, “I Think My Older Brother…” is the first output from Lagwagon I ever felt I could connect with. The lyrics are great, and each song is well written (both lyrically and musically). It starts off a bit slow, and at time it truly does feel somewhat lackluster, but right around the fourth track something clicks. When the gears start turning the machine becomes unstoppable, and you feel yourself not wanting it to ever end. For a band nearly twenty years in, it’s surprising that even with the obstacles they’ve faced, and the success of their side-projects, it wouldn’t be a far stretch to assume that their hearts would no longer be in it. But, rest assured this is a band that still feels passionate about what they do. Give it a chance.