Lagwagon – Hang
1.) Burden Of Proof
3.) Made Of Broken Parts
4.) The Cog In The Machine
5.) Poison In The Well
6.) Obsolete Absolute
7.) Western Settlement
8.) Burning Out In Style
9.) One More Song
11.) You Know Me
12.) In Your Wake
The Pier Album Rating:
Release Date: Oct 27th, 2014
Record Label: Fat Wreck Chords
Official Website: Lagwagon Website
Lagwagon is a self described Power Pop Metal Punk band from Santa Barbara, California. Punk has always had a very strong following in California, which is why Lagwagon is one of the biggest punk bands out there to this day. They are currently signed to the label, Fat Wreck Chords, which has seen the success of other famous punk bands like NOFX, Strung Out, and Rise Against. The band recently released their 8th album, Hang, late last month. It was their first album in almost a decade and it welcomes the abilities of the band’s newest bassist, Joe Raposo, who joined the band in 2010.
The album starts off with, “Burden Of Proof,” a mostly acoustic song that welcomes the voice of vocalist, Joey Cape, who, despite the lack of studio albums in the past ten years, hasn’t had his voice changed that much. One of the first noticeable things is that the songs are connected and lack silence in between the tracks. This keeps listeners on their toes since unless they are looking at the display of their portable disc-man, won’t know that the next song has already started, or that the end of the song they are currently listening to is actually the prequel to the next song. A perfect example of the latter would be the transition between the tracks, “You Know Me,” and “In Your Wake.” The reason for this format is that listeners can now skip the intro and go directly to the music of “In Your Wake.” Die-hard listeners who want to hear the intro would have to hear the song before as well, but that’s not necessarily an inconvenience.
One of the songs that earned recognition in my book was “The Cog In The Machine.” The main riff is extremely well executed and is simply killer. The lyrics resonate with the issues in today’s society where we are all cogs in the machines striving for wealth. It’s always a plus when bands can speak about the issues of today’s world through their music, and for a punk band, Lagwagon excels in this respect.
Possibly the best song on the album is, “Obsolete Absolute,” a song which sounds like it’s going to be an instrumental rager, but ends up being a good sequel. At first, the spoken words mention what is obsolete for society today: typewriters, payphones, phone books, etc. Then the speaker hits home with the idea that conversation, sympathy, empathy, love, and privacy, have also become obsolete. With everything on the news today, it’s sad to say that all of those things seem like they are becoming obsolete, which is unfortunate. The band then takes over for the rest of the song in a fury of speed that is common for punk bands. The production, the complexity of this songs structure and the intricate nature of the riffs the band members are playing, make this song stand out. Of the six minutes the song lasts, not one of them is dull.
The band doesn’t kid around when they self describe their music and provide a plethora of genres. “Drag,” comes across as a darker metal song as opposed to the punk nature the rest of the album has. The band knows how to nail the genre with this song. It’s not as fast paced, but has some guitar solos near the end of the song that resonate with the spirit of metal.
Having mentioned that Joe Raposo is on bass duties now, the guy sure knows how to lay down some great bass lines. The bass lines are well thought out, and more importantly, well played in mostly all the songs. It’s hard to have creative bass lines in punk, but Raposo found a way to make it happen.
In the end, fans will certainly enjoy listening to this album; it has a lot of good tracks on it, and very little filler. The songs are short and to the point, where appropriate. The only song that got to be a bit frustrating to hear was “In Your Wake,” due to the repetitive nature of the line, “Inside Your Head,” near the end of the song. Aside from that, the rest of the album is solid.
Written & Reviewed By: Juan Barragan
[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, NOT the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]