LAGS- ‘Soon’

Lags work hard. The Italian outfit have spent the three years since their last album trimming the fat from their already brawny sound. As a result, ‘Soon’ sounds like it was made by men with calloused hands and stiff upper lips and the best intentions. There’s a satisfying focus on power and drive, Antonio Canestri’s clear, strong (of course) yowl, and keeping things moving. Opener ‘Knives and Wounds’ is a rock-hard rumble, reminiscent of the everyman efforts of Boysetsfire and Sparta, ‘Showdown’ maintains the tempo but punches some melody into the mix, while ‘The Bait’ is almost At The Drive-In-esque. And there’s the rub. Lots of this is almost great. Moments grab your attention- the brilliant, hefty beginning to ‘Magic Bullet’, the brief but beautiful middle of ‘What It Takes’ – but struggle to hold it. Everything feels well-built but too often workmanlike, rarely essential. Lags might be able to step up, maybe soon, they certainly have the fortitude, but not here, not now.

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