On January 22nd I was given an incredible surprise; an e-pal of mine told me that the Lawrence Arms had decided to leak their new CD. I immediately downloaded it and started to listen. It has now been 8 days, and I have yet to stop. I mean I’ll listen to other things, but so far not a day has gone by where I have not listened to Oh! Calcutta!. Seriously, this shit rocks…hardcore.
Oh! Calcutta! is almost a total time warp for the Lawrence Arms. They have substituted a lot of the musical complexity and melodic/lyrical beauty that made up their last CD, The Greatest Story Ever Told, and traded it in for a more punk rock feel a la Ghost Stories. At first I was really bummed when I heard about this change in sound because T.G.S.E.T. is easily within my top five album choices, but Oh! Calcutta! did not disappoint in any way. Each of the 12 songs is indeed a punk rock anthem, but at no times does this get boring or repetitive. All three of the members are skilled enough musicians to keep your ears entertained, and Chris and Brendan write some of the finest lyrics out their so that is always a plus. Also on past CDs, Chris and Brendan would each sing their respective songs and tend to stay quiet while the other sings. This is not the case on Oh! Calcutta!, where the two have a adopted a sort of call and response style that works out incredibly well on the few tracks they do it on.
There are only two real drawbacks to this CD. The first is that it clocks in at a measly 30 minutes, including a “hidden track”. The Lawrence Arms traditionally write CDs of this length so it’s not an actual let down its just upsetting to not have more of it. The other drawback is that this CD never slows down. In the past, songs that Chris wrote/sang would be the slower more eloquent songs on the CD. You could always count on Brendan to rock out on one track, and then have the next song be a beautiful melody. However, in order to keep up with the frantic pace of Oh! Calcutta! Chris dropped his crooning and shown that he is not the “emo whiner” that some fans/assholes consider him to be.
Finally these are my three favorite songs on the CD, and if you like what you hear feel free to IM me at RaHoustoun and I will happily send you the rest.
Final Notes: This CD will be released later in the spring so keep your eyes out for it. If you liked this CD or are already a fan of the band, I recommend you check out Hot Water Music, The Falcon, and some of their best friends the Alkaline Trio.