Music News

The Lawrence Arms

Remember that two-headed gibberish-speaking muppet? The Lawrence Arms is like that, only they're intelligible. And instead of a puppeteer with his hand up their furry hinder, Neil Hennessy is in back, pounding away like Animal on the skins. Bassist Brendan Kelly and guitarist Chris McCaughan are so like-minded in their dual singing delivery that, were it not for their disparate voices, they'd be sideshow inhabitants. The streamlined punk isn't very heavy, but frenetic speed and Kelly's wild-eyed croaking carry the excitement to manic levels. A penchant for turning clever phrases shows up on tracks like "Here Comes the Neighborhood," but the intelligent humor, which seems to have risen from random drunken conversations and in-jokes, is never used at the expense of catchy, driven songs. If the Beastie Boys had stayed in the punk-rock fold, this would be their shtick.

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Rick Skidmore