In the bustling, sprawling world of music — really, any medium — there will always be worthwhile artists who go generally overlooked. Though they have achieved some underground fame, The Lawrence Arms are one of those bands that deserves better.
This 15-year-old Chicago three-piece specializes in smart, wry, often genuinely powerful Punk Rock with a knack for nimble hooks and tonal variety. Anchored by two vocalists — the gravelly, more Punk-sounding Brendan Kelly and the softer, classic-Emo-friendly Chris McCaughan — the group’s discography is flush with gems. On “Light Breathing (Me and Martha Plimpton in a Fancy Elevator),” McCaughan delivers a measured, dour portrait of a chance encounter with the Raising Hope and The Goonies actress in which he becomes paralyzed with nervousness.
On “Are You There Margaret? It’s Me, God,” Kelly reflects on life as a sinner and begs a divine aeroplane not to take flight without him.
Elsewhere, the Arms have also penned a song about regret on New Year’s Eve, devised a corker of an Insane Clown Posse reference (“I work day and night/Less respect than a Juggalo”), quoted both Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and King Lear in the liner notes of 2006’s Oh! Calcutta! and wrote an A-grade 2003 album that repeatedly references the Russian novel The Master and Margarita.
The Lawrence Arms’ discography, which gained its sixth full-length in January with the release of Metropole, is one that demands a once-over ASAP.
THE LAWRENCE ARMS play Southgate House Revival on Sunday, June 1. Tickets/more info here.