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.
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AllMusic Review by Jo-Ann Greene