Best Thing Brendan Kelly Has Done in Eight Years

The Lawrence Arms' Metropole

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OK, so I don't know much at all about Brendan Kelly's personal life, much less everything he's done the past eight years—he could've climbed Mount Everest, or caught a really big fish, or eaten an unusually large sandwich. I'm not privy to the milestones he may or may not have passed, because we're not friends. But I do know about his band the Lawrence Arms, and in January they dropped Metropole (Epitaph), the long-awaited follow-up to 2006's Oh! Calcutta!. It's a doozy, proving that scuzzy punk can mature gracefully without losing its juvenile charms. On the bluesy "The YMCA Down the Street From the Clinic" they haven't grown out of pop-punk's tendency to overshare about masturbation ("So I text and tweet and look at nudes and beat off in the dark"), but the song itself is a sobering look at dead-end boozers.