Written by: PP on 22/07/2009 05:29:23

I'm in an old album review mood tonight, so let me start with one that absolutely should be in our review database, namely Lagwagon's seminal album "Hoss". Lagwagon albums have all displayed varying degrees of solid skatepunk characterized by Joey Cape's lazily sung melodic vocals and tight guitars. They've never been spectacular as such, but almost each release they've put out contains at least a couple of tracks that've stuck through the years and later become classics. "Hoss", Lagwagon's third album that was released way back in 1995 (geez, time flies), is their most successful record in terms of songwriting alongside "Duh" and possibly "Trashed", and here's why.

So lets, outrageously, assume that you wouldn't have a clue what all the fuzz is about when it comes to "Hoss". Basically, this the record that houses many of the best Lagwagon songs to date, which I'll just go ahead and name drop here. "Violins" is irresistibly infectious that it should really be called "Influenza" instead, featuring arguably their catchiest chorus overall. "Name Dropping" is a feel-good skatepunk song thanks to its breakneck pace and strained melodic vocals in the chorus, and I don't think I even need to mention why "Bombs Away" is good, because even if you're not a Lagwagon fan you should know why. Unless you're a crying emo faggot, of course. Ok, that was unnecessary, but whatever.

Typical to punk rock, the bass is high-flying audibly on the background often acting as the most interesting instrument in the mix, but hey, that's the way it should be as well. A good example can be found on "Move Your Car" which is so heavy on the bass they might as well have left out the guitars as they're simply in a supporting role. Still, a song like "Sleep" will win you over with its bouncy guitar riff, and though "Sick" might start with a power-chord intro, it's just so smooth and slick that no music fan should be able to complain. Similarly, the 40-second drum solo that kicks off the very NOFX-sounding "Rifle" is worthy of mention here.

So we're talking about a rating up in the 9s here, right? Like I mentioned in the opening paragraph, Lagwagon albums are all rock solid skatepunk, but none of them are really spectacular. Even here on "Hoss", an album bursting with seminal skatepunk tracks like "Black Eyes" and "Razor Burn", you'd be hard pressed to find enough evidence to rate this much higher than an 8. Fact is, I'd rate all Lagwagon albums 8 for being rock solid skatepunk albums (with the exception of the rather mediocre "Double Plaidinum"), but none of them are up there with the best Bad Religion and NOFX releases, the two bands that Lagwagon sounds like the most. That being said though, "Hoss" is probably the one Lagwagon album that you should start with in case your knowledge to the band is small to non-existent.


Download: Black Eyes, Violins, Bombs Away
For the fans of: NOFX, Bad Religion
Listen: Myspace

Release date 21.11.1995
Fat Wreck Chords

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