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Random Review: Lagwagon


Fat Wreck Chords

Lagwagon was one of the leaders of the mid to late '90s skate punk renaissance. Putting out records on Fat Wreck, they had international distribution and prime slots on the first couple of Warped Tours. But this was before the dawn of Hot Topic, mall punk, and guyliner embossed dudes with angular haircuts wearing their girlfriend's jeans-the ones who made the tour and genre profitable. Lagwagon made super fast, melodic punk for kids too hip for Green Day, but not disenfranchised enough to forgo showers and embroider all their clothing with bullets and studs.

Hang is their first new record since 2005. Remarkably, it came in at #95 on the Billboard charts, a feat seemingly impossible fifteen years ago, when an album needed to move at least 10,000 units to break the Top 200. Downloads seem to have done away with the astronomical numbers needed for a Heatseeker position these days. The album opens with the somber and acoustic “Burden of Proof” and flows right into the scorcher “Reign.” Opening with a heavy, almost metal riff, “The Cog in the Machine” and “Burning Out in Style” speak for a band that has lived its entirety in the indie label world, never attaining the wealth afforded others by their major label deals. The songs on this album show a band in their forties who still have the chops and the speed to hang with any group of twenty-two-year olds, but the lyrics have more depth and cynicism than could ever be conjured up by someone still living in their mom's basement.

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