For those who haven’t heard of them, Laughing Gas is a band from Florida that plays fast, yet poppy, punk rock. Their first album, Trapped In a Shark Tank, had a melodic punk vibe to it, a la Face to Face or Dead to Me, although on the band’s newest EP, Fear and Laziness, Laughing Gas has placed a bigger emphasis on the poppier aspects of punk rock, much like early material by bands like The Ataris, MxPx, and blink-182. In fact, if you regularly cite Cheshire Cat or Life in General in your top five albums of all time, you can stop reading here and just go download this EP right now. For those of you still reading, here’s a review:
Fear and Laziness begins with “Giving Up the Fight”, a speedy number about the sad realizations of growing up and the apathetic nature that such truths foster. Admittedly, this is hardly a groundbreaking subject for a punk rock song, but Laughing Gas still plays with enough hooks to make it enjoyable to hear again. Not to mention that the bass fills are really fun. Unfortunately “I Will Forget”, the second track, isn’t quite as strong- it still plays with the same formula, but falls flat around the third time the refrain is repeated. The bridge begins to introduce a change in tempo, but ultimately just winds up transitioning into the outro of the song before anything interesting sticks around.
The EP’s highlight comes in the form of the closing track “Break Up Song”. With a running time twice that of the tracks that came before, “Break Up Song” sees the band in full melodic punk rock swing: name dropping the Descendents (much like the Ataris might while singing a song about a relationship), while also throwing in a blink-182 reference for good measure. Even though this sounds gimmicky, it’s far from it. It shows Laughing Gas at their most comfortable together, with strong lyrics relating the power that music can have on a relationship, while also being able to pay tribute to their influences.
With only three tracks, it’s hard to truly judge what Laughing Gas is capable of based solely on this EP. While Fear and Laziness never outstays its welcome, I can’t help but wish there was at least one more song to balance out the okay-to-mediocre-to-great ratio that the release has going for it. As it stands, Fear and Laziness will make a perfect introduction to Laughing Gas in the future- should they continue in this direction that they’re headed. And if not then at least we can take comfort in knowing it will be an interesting piece of history shuffled into a Laughing Gas b-sides and rarities compilation.
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