Thursday, 13 October 2016

Album Review: State Of Excess by The Lash Outs


The Lash Outs are a power pop punk band from Dallas, Texas. In March they released their third full length album, State Of Excess. State Of Excess was produced by Stephen Egerton of Descendents, ALL and Flag fame. With such a legendary figure in the punk world on board I was keen to check out this album.


The first track on the album is named Validation Song. Validation Song begins with a fun rolling guitar intro before we get to the vocals. Within a few lines there are some "Nah Nah Nahs" giving you the knowledge that this is going to be a fairly light hearted album. The song itself is about seeking validation from somebody whatever the cost. Up next is the track Sha La La. This song is about feeling like you're past your prime and that everyone who is younger than you is getting the breaks that you might deserve. Lyrically the song is quite sad but the music keeps the song feeling quite upbeat. The "Sha La La" harmonies add a positive, happy feel as well. This is followed up by Light And Sound. The beginning of this song has a great building quality that has you expecting a really big moment in the song. This long build gives you the feeling of wanting more. Sadly that big moment never comes in the song but it does lead into a big heavy metal style riff which opens the next song, Bondage Of Self. I really liked the short sentence structure in the verse, the lyrics are almost as if lead singer, Joey Holbrook, is reading from a list. This gives so much fantastic energy to the track. Bondage Of Self is a song about being self obsessed and features an extremely catchy chorus. The fifth song on the album is named Mistakes. This is a slower paced song than the previous four, with The Lash Outs really focussing on the content and message of the song. The message of the song is fairly obvious - it's about being mindful of making mistakes and making things worse. I really enjoyed the musicianship on this song, showing an influence from early rock and roll music.

The title track, State Of Excess, is the sixth song on the album. State Of Excess has my favourite intro of the whole album. The slow start with just guitar and vocals make the track instantly recognisable before the song really starts in earnest. The song itself is about the current culture of people being more fussed about things they own than anything else and the belief that you are judged on possessions. Up next is the incredibly catchy I Don't Know Why. It's about not understanding why somebody would stay in a relationship with someone who doesn't treat them well. You'll immediately  be singing along with the chorus of the up-tempo song. There is a guitar riff in the next song, Bowels Of Time (First Movement), that reminds me of the song I Want Candy. This caught my attention from the outset. The whole song is actually a completely musical affair with no vocals whatsoever. It incorporates different stlyes such as 60s rock n roll and surf rock blended with some pop punk to make a very interesting and enjoyable track. You don't often hear tracks like this on pop punk records and it showcases just what good musicians The Lash Outs are. The penultimate song on State Of Excess is titled Retail Therapy. The Lash Outs are very good in that their song titles make it abundantly clear what their songs are about - this makes the job of a reviewer much easier! It's about shopping to make yourself feel better. Something everyone is guilty of at times. There is a darker, more metal tone on this song giving it a serious edge to go along with the insanely catchy chorus of "Retail Therapy, Retail Therapy." Finally the album is completed with Work To Get By. On my first few listens of the album this is probably the song that stood out the most to me. Work To Get By is a song about how not everyone is lucky enough to be given everything they want - some people have to work to get by. I really love the message on this song, coming from a working class family myself and seeing a lot of people around me just getting things handed to them it is really relatable. A great working class anthem found in quite an unlikely place. The 60s rock vibe is strong on this track with some added keys for the first time on the album.

The Lash Outs have written a fantastic album about the world's current social status and are really quite insightful on this release. It's also a hell of a lot of fun. If you want to hear a smart album that will also have you smiling then look no further than State Of Excess.

Stream and download State Of Excess here: https://thelashouts.bandcamp.com/album/state-of-excess

Like The Lash Outs here: https://www.facebook.com/thelashouts