Local Wire

Lawrence Arms

Pop-punk boasts about as much intrigue these days as "blues-rock," "rap-metal" and every other innocent-sounding compound that has grown into a stinky, world-dominating blob. For five years, Chicago's Lawrence Arms have stayed interesting by being the Renaissance men of a genre that's broader than our wary ears might recognize after hearing too many whiny hooks. With about as much power, agility and complexity as a guitar, bass and drum can deliver, the trio has charged through everything from old-school East Bay lilt, to stormy, Jawbreaker-ish laments, to plain old melodic hardcore, to overwrought emo. Bassist Brendan Kelly supplies rasp for the rockers, while sweet-voiced guitarist Chris McCaughan handles introspection. They do it all and they do it all well. They might even stop your eyes from glazing over at the mere thought of pop-punk.