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Album

Metropole

The Lawrence Arms

About “Metropole”

Eight years after 2006’s Oh! Calcutta!, The Lawrence Arms marked their return to form with Metropole in early 2014.

Using the concept of a city and it’s various avenues & districts, The Lawrence Arms paint a bleak but hopeful picture of aging and coping with the concept of your legacy as your impending doom looms closer.

“Metropole” Q&A

  • What's the deal with the little sound bites in-between some of the songs?

    Brendan Kelly had this to say to Spin (in 2014) about the “lo-fi-recorded conversations and instrumentation” on the album:

    Originally, Chris and I were going to go out and interview each other at bars, restaurants, and just talking on the street in an urban environment. We had planned to weave the conversation through the whole album like a Linklater film or something. What we found was that that takes a lot of fucking time between recording, especially when it’s unscripted. There was just a lot of “Uhhh uhhhh” kind of shit going on, and it didn’t really work. We noticed that when we listened to the interviews that other things we heard in our recordings, like a speaker blast or something, were more evocative than the shit we were saying. I was on vacation with my family in Italy, and there was a guy playing a grand piano in the middle of a street [found on “Seventeener (17th and 37th)”], stuff like that. So we started recording things like that and mixing it into the record. The interludes are all found sound.

  • What have the artists said about the album?

    In an interview with Spin from 2014, Brendan Kelly had this to say about the structure of the album and some of its inspiration:

    Well, all of us are huge fans of Aquemini and also tons of hip-hop from the ’90s. That stuff was such a lifeblood for us and continues to be. I love hip-hop albums that have a longform narrative. It can be funny and goofy, but then get extremely dark at the drop of a hat, and gelling those things together is something hip-hop has done so well, to weave into the fabric of that culture to the point that nobody cares if there’s a joke song then a dark song. There’s interludes and diversions, but it’s a more holistic way of looking at things.

    It was our idea to kind of take those themes and also do a back-and-forth thing with Chris and my vocals — finish each other’s sentences, sort of like a hip-hop album from ’89 to ’91. There’s just the fact that we’re old white guys, so it obviously won’t sound the same, but we liked that approach for vocal delivery. It won’t be as recognizable, but the genesis is there, and I think it’s legit.

Album Credits

More The Lawrence Arms albums