The thing I love about Heavy Lag is that their music, which they lovingly refer to as “dirt pop,” somehow manages to crank all the knobs of my punk rock nostalgia loves straight past 11 without losing focus or sounding like a throwback. At times Von Zippers, at times a little Squirtgun, sometimes Dillinger Four, and other times almost Descendents and certainly The Wipers too. You might say, Mike, aren’t those all just punk bands? But any punk will tell you that’s categorically untrue; there is so much more nuance to it than that. And the Brooklyn garage punkers in Heavy Lag clearly understand those nuances and play to them extremely well. What Another Year Closer to Whatever really manages to do is do everything at once without doing anything at all other than rocking the fuck out.
Heavy Lag in 2021 (photos by Kate Hoos)
The guitars are loud and dirty but less overdriven than you’d expect, allowing the rhythm section to punch and the guitar leads to pierce right thru the pop-sensible wall of sound. In fact, the vocals are probably the most distorted thing on the record, perfectly skirting that line between garage rock and punk rock sound. Catchy standouts like “Dirtpop” and “Splitting Headache” not only embody this, but also have the perfect titles to sum up what this fun record is all about, while slower mid-tempo grooves like “Heist” only add to its character. The album was recorded by Pete Steinkopf (of The Bouncing Souls) who lent his stellar studio sensibilities for capturing great punk and power pop records and gave it that extra push.
Bottom line, this is a really good rock n’ roll record. It’s not trying to do anything other than that, and in doing so, it really delivers. Another year, another great band, and another Heavy Lag record closer to whatever.
Another Year Closer to Whatever is out now via Bloated Kat Records and is available on all major streamers. They will play a record release show on 1/19 at TV Eye with School Drugs, Radar, Substitute and Sadlands.