Punk bands grow up, and more-so when there’s an eight-year gap since their last album. This is where The Lawrence Arms finds themselves in 2014 with the release of Metropole, album number six for the Chicago punks. That was enough time to grow old and get perspective, but not make any fundamental changes to the formula.
While the band is essentially staying on course musically, the songwriting delves into growing up and the loss of youth. It’s the sort of album that could only be written after a long break where they settle into old routines only to find everything around them has changed.
Seventeener (17th and 37th) sets the mood of the album, dripping with bitterness and nostalgia – ‘I never wanted to die old/But it’s too late now’ being one of the many lyrical references throughout Metropole signifying the passing of an age for the band. Their sound is mellower than their previous work, aside from the odd abrasive track such as the quick-fire Drunk Tweets, reflecting the melancholy mood of the album. It’s mature and sincere without being boring, which is a fairly important element.
While little has changed with their sound, it’s The Lawrence Arms’ change of perspective that makes the record so interesting – even if it’s a depressing reminder that we’ve got to grow old someday.