Review: Lagwagon

(Fat Wreck Chords)

“Blaze” finds the boys from the greater Santa Barbara area spreading their collective wings, bridging the gap between “Hoss” style punk rock and “Let’s Talk About Feelings” emo-ness. The evolution of Lagwagon’s sound is evident in all fourteen tracks, as the Wagoners are able to inject the multi-layered, driving music with Joey Cape’s nuanced lyrics, resulting in an album that is as energetic as it is poetic. Cape’s lyrical and effervescent voice are captured brilliantly on “Dividers”, a song that builds climactically to the “No dividers” chorus with such an intense procession that it’s almost a relief when it’s finally passed.

While the rip-snort feel present in so many of “Hoss”‘s or “Double Pladiunum”‘s tracks is decidedly lacking from “Blaze”, the album never stumbles to find its tempo or its punch. “Blaze” is not the case of a band mellowing over time but rather the example of what a talented group of musicians can do when they stay together long enough to let their sound metamorphous into something new. All aboard.