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Apathy and Exhaustion

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Album Review

Modern life is no picnic, and life on the road for a young band is oftentimes frustrating, tiring, and tiresome, brightened only by the occasional moments of glory and glee. So after a year of uninterrupted touring, it's no wonder that the Lawrence Arms felt little more than Apathy and Exhaustion. And why Fat Wreck Chords immediately signed the band and sent it straight into the studio, for Fat head Fat Mike has enough road experience to know that a band on the edge is sure to knock out a record of raw emotion and edgy exuberance bordering on total nihilism. Beyond the band's revved-up emotional state and got-my-second-wind exhilaration, the trio has another winning card up its sleeve — two lead singers. Gruff bassist Clarence Darrow (aka Brendan), all raspy, too-many-cigs-and-shots gravel tones, handles the more frenetic songs, while guitarist Lehigh Acres (aka Chris) takes on the more introspective numbers, a pool of angst, vulnerability, and startled disbelief at the small cruelties the world offers up. Between them, the group covers all the emotional bases, and musical ones to boot. Crisp, clean, melodic punk that runs from punchy celebrations to moodier, steamy songs of sweet beauty. Apathy and Exhaustion may describe the trio's state, but the Lawrence Arms' debut album is sure to elicit anything but.


Formed: 1999 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The Lawrence Arms got together in 1999 after the departure of Chicago pop-punkers the Broadways, Slapstick, Baxter, and Tricky Dick. The collaboration of Brendan Kelly (vocals/bass), Neil Hennessy (drums), and Chris McCaughan (guitar/vocals) produced music in the same vein of their previous bands: clever -- often politically inspired -- pop-punk with an aggressive, gritty edge. Asian Man Records released the Lawrence Arms' first album, A Guided Tour of Chicago, in November of 1999, while their second...
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