Lagwagon - I Think My Older Brother Used to Listen to Lagwagon (12" EP)

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Deep into their career, the first band signed to Fat Wreck Chords, Lagwagon maintains their brand of rollicking punk rock with pounding drums, energetic Brit-poppy major-to-minor chord changes, and sunshine-soaked melodies. Nothing new here, which is a good thing. Relentless and polished, the So-Cal sound permeates their collectively tanned fiber and at times they sound nearly identical to latter day Descendents while giving the occasional nod to NOFX. Refreshingly, unlike most skate-punk singers with one hand in the pocket of Fat Mike, vocalist Joey Cape refrains from singing through his nose and chooses to stick with his unforced throaty singing style, proof that the band is staying true to what they know best on I Think My Older Brother Used to Listen. Why wouldn't they stay true to their roots? They're as strong as ever, and the quintet's early sound holds up and stands out well among the Warped Tour clones.

The seven songs race by in a blur of themes dealing primarily with the abstract, but also the ripe topic of aging: specifically holes in the memory of a worn-out drug-addled mind, and disillusionment with society, all while glancing back at their long career and realizing that even though they have regrets they have every intention of continuing on. With songs of this caliber making this EP play like a short and sweet best-of show, it would be a damn shame if they called it quits anytime soon. At the same time, it's too bad that they didn't come up with a few more songs to make enough material for a full-length. Oh well. Their sense of humor still holds, as shown by the album title, but it has become more self-depreciating and dry over time, rather than silly, and at times the lyrics are downright thoughtful, making for some rollicking fun that deserves to be taken seriously. As veterans of the game, their musical statement is best summed up with the last line of the last song, "Mission unaccomplished. Still out here." Good.

 

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