Friday, June 07, 2019

Local Drags - Shit's Lookin' Up!

While I've long been a big supporter of pop-punk by the book, I have lately been especially enamored with artists who take a pop-punk influence and do something a little different with it. I have to admit I was predisposed to liking Local Drags as soon as I saw singer/guitarist/bassist Lanny pictured posing with a cat on the one-sheet. But even without any feline involvement, I would have been into this record. You may know Lanny Durbin as co front-man in the new wave power pop punk band Starter Jackets. Well Local Drags are kind of like a less '80s-inspired, more classically Midwestern power pop version of Starter Jackets. This band retains the influence of pop-punk and modern melodic punk, but the prevailing vibe is power pop by way of '90s indie/alternative. Big guitars and even bigger melodies are in order here. I'm hearing a lot of Cheap Trick & Replacements worship informed by pop-punk, and I am fully on board with that! 

Shit's Lookin' Up! is the debut full-length from this Springfield, Illinois duo (which also includes Matt Sailor on drums). It's a co-release between It's Alive and Stardumb Records - a truly legendary pairing of pop-punk labels! The title, which references a lyric in opening track "Can Probably Wait", is really a perfect tone-setter for the whole album. This is for the most part an upbeat, crank-it-up-loud sort of pop record with some mellow moments to soak in while you sip on your glorious cheap beer. "Plot Holes", with its crunchy guitars and epic hook, is modern-day power pop at its finest. "500 Hours Free" is in a similar vein. "Hidden Track" is deeply emotional in a totally satisfying '90s alt-rocking way. With Lanny being so strongly in control of this project, Local Drags are a bit more of his vision compared to the group effort of Starter Jackets. But if you dig Starter Jackets, I would say you are likely to dig Local Drags as well. Shit's lookin' up? Sure is!


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