“You are Here” – The Lawrence Arms

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Chicago’s punk powerhouse, The Lawrence Arms, have left listeners anxiously waiting for a new full-length album for about eight years now and the first glimpse of their new material is finally here. Despite consistently playing a handful of shows year after year, each member of the trio has had their own reasons for being too busy to write and record. Ranging from fatherhood to other musical projects, the guys just didn’t have the time. For now at least, this time is over. The track “You are Here” is the first single from the band’s upcoming full length Metropole, and if this song is a sign of things to come, it appears the Larry Arms haven’t missed a beat.

Right off the bat, the track includes everything longtime fans of the band are looking for, most notably guitarist Chris McCaughan and bassist Brendan Kelley’s trademark combined vocals. Rather than being the two singing one after the other though, much of the song is the two singing at the same time, resulting in a great harmony. Kelly’s raspy voice foils McCaughan’s clean vocals to give the polished track some extra grit. Neil Hennessy’s already great drumming seems to have only gotten better too, proving that his parts will already be a standout on Metropole. Combined with Kelly’s fluid bass lines and McCaughan’s sustained guitars, it’s clear the Lawrence Arms had a lot of fun writing this record.

Thematically, the song’s lyrics are direct and relatable. While some lyrics throughout are a bit dry or overly wordy, lines like “Friends are friends, I guess, but friends are rare. Some talk, but never hear” or“Don’t believe what you hear until you’ve heard it from me” are very clever and clear to understand. In addition to this, “You are Here” is what all the best Larry Arms songs are: a great sing along.

This track and record are also significant because they are the first to be released under the band’s new record label, Epitaph. Having previously been at Fat Wreck Chords for quite some time, is anything noticeably different now? Absolutely. “You are Here” marks a cleaner mix, especially in the vocals, seeming to lose a bit of the roughness their previous recordings had. This may turn off or confuse familiar listeners at first, but after a few listens it’s easy to get behind such a small change.

Metropole is gearing itself up to be the most mature and developed sound of the band to date; and that’s not a bad thing. “You are Here” serves as an excellent sample of the record and will hopefully satisfy other fans’ desire for new material.

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Check out the music video and an interview with Brendan Kelly HERE



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