Review: The Lawrence Arms – Buttsweat and Tears EP

It’s been about three years since The Lawrence Arms released Oh! Calcutta, which was a fine, fine album. After chewing the fat at Punksoc, it was clear that yes, we missed The Larry Arms, and yes, new material was needed. Which is why it was awesome when they released their latest EP last week – Buttsweat and Tears, available as a 7inch or download. Apparently, the title Buttsweat and Tears comes from an EP they wanted to release ten years ago, and on the approach of their tenth anniversary as a band, it’s an appropriate title indeed.

I’ll just spell it out now – this EP is awesome. Honestly, I don’t have a bad thing to say about it. This will make this review somewhat uninteresting if you’re not already an established Lawrence Arms fan, or it will serve to make you love them too, whichever you prefer. Even though I’ve just spoilt everything, I’ll at least attempt to give a coherent evaluation of the EP in all its glory!

The EP itself is fairly reminiscent of later Larry Arms, which is fine, because that’s my favourite type. Opening track, Spit Shining Shit, sounds like it’d be perfectly at home on a The Falcon release, with that palm muted opening into full on punk rock melody. It’s everything you’ve come to expect from The Lawrence Arms and truly a great opening. Track number two, The Slowest Drink At the Saddest Bar on the Snowiest Day in the Greatest City (try requesting that at your next club night!), fills me with absolute jealousy – as both a guitarist and a writer, I wish I’d written this song. Possibly my favourite song this year, and vocals are by Chris, making it even better. Lyrically, this song is superb and on par with anything else they’ve ever released, as is the rest of the EP. In particular, Slowest Drink evokes some rad imagery and atmosphere, especially with the chorus. Again, total jealousy. Third track, Them Angels Been Talkin’, lulls you into thinking it’ll be slow, a la Greatest Story, but no! The intro melds wonderfully into a fast paced, fast talking explosion of a song with some sweet riffs. On the download EP, which I have (shut up, I want a vinyl player but I don’t have one), there’s an extra track, which is entirely necessary. Demons is typical Larry Arms fare, a song that tells a story, and makes the EP feel more rounded and complete. Without it, I think the EP wouldn’t be as good as it is, it’d feel a bit empty. So if you do buy the vinyl, download this one song off iTunes. Final closing song, The Redness In The West is a slow affair with a country feel that keeps on building up and up until it all crashes together in a glorious mess of guitar, and Chris does his best gruff vocals to fit with it. Truly epic stuff.

I suppose I do have something slightly negative to say – it’s more of the same, but that’s not exactly a bad thing. The Lawrence Arms have been consistently good throughout their career and this EP reaffirms that well. Hopefully, it’s only a matter of time until a full album is released!

5 out of 5 high fives!

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