Sound — 10
This album alone defines the type of band Lagwagon was set out to be. With a thrash metal sound that's seamlessly melded in with the punk dynamic Lagwagon puts it down. The recording is actually quite clean contrary to a lot of punk bands at around this time that preferred that dirtier, less processed sound; but it's not so refined to the point where it takes out the spirit of the band. Joey Cape's voice is an instant classic. Far from the prettiest singer you'll ever hear but full of sincerity and energy and the vocal melodies he crafts for a punk song are really pretty crazy. Almost unusually melodic for a punk band if you ask me. But after all, Lagwagon is considered to be a melodic skate punk band, and Joey Cape's voice certainly serves to prove that. Lots of really clever guitar arrangements where the line between lead and rhythm is at times clearly defined and other times blurred through the beautiful fusion of the two guitars playing equally memorable melodies on the guitar. Bass and drums work in a crazy good dynamic fusion keeping the groove while moving it along with the overall punk sound of the band. You couldn't find a more perfect drummer for this album than in Derrick Plourde. He's able to play nuanced when required but also takes command of the sound when needed and with ever percussive movement he makes, it means something else.
Lyrics — 10
Most of this album covers some pretty heavy stuff. Growing up, losing friends, apathy of a democratic population that only complains about their problems, to being a straight-up lazy piece of shit. "Beer Goggles" however... Well listen to it for yourself and hear the difference. No matter the subject matter Joey Cape hits the lyrics with enthusiasm and sincerity. The lyrics themselves are very well thought out. Original and at times poetic but not enigmatic and pretentious. One of my personal favorites from "Noble Ending":
"Again the headlines read
'A Noble Soldier Finds A Noble Ending'
They are the ones who can be done without
Expendable numbers forgotten no doubt
A family of ethics has died."
"Beer Goggles" ain't no waste of lyrics either though.
Overall Impression — 10
To me, this album is a staple in punk music. If you wanted to make a punk band that was dynamic and memorable, look at this album for inspiration. My personal favorites from this album would have to be "Angry Days," "Mr. Coffee," and "Stop Whining." I can't think of anything bad to say about this album honestly. For having been recorded in about three days, you could not ask for a more perfect punk album. If someone stole this from me, hell, I'd be tempted to kill them. But hey, if they listen to it and fall in love I'll just beat the shit out of them and take it back.