California’s Lagwagon is one of those bands that have been at is since many of you were still learning to wipe yourselves. I first discovered them years ago when I grabbed a copy of their heralded Let’s Talk About Feelings which I played way too much throughout my angsty high school days, and then went through their back catalogue with both Hoss and Double Plaidinum being some of my most played albums. The band evolved a bunch from their early skate punk days when they released Blaze, incorporating slower elements and continued that with the release of Resolve and their self-depreciating I Think My Older Brother Used To Listen To Lagwagon EP. So naturally, their latest album Hang probably continues this direction right? Wrong.
Hang, the first full length in over 9 years from the band, takes a completely different evolutionary direction with it being the thrashiest Lagwagon album to date. Acoustic minute long intro “Burden Of Proof” leads into “Reign”, a solid skate punk jam that is classic Lagwagon, but then from there it’s a solid block of thrashy melodic punk rock… and it’s damn good. Take “The Cog In The Machine”, which may be the heaviest Lagwagon song to date yet easily remains classic Lagwagon. Joey Cape and crew are able to incorporate these new thrash elements without ever really giving up what makes us love Lagwagon to begin with.
Of course, not every song is completely thrashy. “Burning Out In Style” sounds like it could have come off Double Plaidinum while songs like “One More Song” (which I can only imagine they use to as a response to an encore) is one of Lagwagon’s finest ballads complete with a piano breakdown in the middle.
While I will always love the classic skate punk that Lagwagon gave us, and their early albums will definitely hold a special place in my ramp shredding, fist raising, punk rock heart, Hang definitely an amazing album and if a band is going to evolve they may as well do it right the way Lagwagon did.