What I dig most about groups like Lagwagon is they bring back distinct memories of an even more distinct era. It was the mid-‘90s and the world hadn’t yet tired of sugary punk melodies and harmonies. We still loved the incessant bap-bap-bap of the snare drum while the double bass drum thundered through yet another patented West Coast melodicore tune. All the while, Poser and I were wiping sleep out of our eyes while we drove over the hill into Santa Cruz at 7 a.m. in search of an outside set at Twenties.
Chances are fans of the punk rock bands that emerged from ’92 to ’97 have similar memories, when we were far from being jaded by the army of the current scene leaders. While Lagwagon’s Blaze can at times come too close to crossing a dangerous line into the mainstream, much of the songs on the disc bring back those visions of what life was like before TRL, Blink-182 and reality TV.
Save for tunes like “Falling Apart”, Lagwagon can be proud of its first effort in five years. Yes, that IS a long time for a punk band to go between releases (how Metallica of them). I would imagine that some longtime fans will have a bit of difficulty swallowing some of the lighter tunes, and a few might even hem and haw about it on message boards. Yet, as with other veterans of Fat Mike’s label, much is this same as it ever was … and it was good.
Dave Haucke, June 26,, 2003