It’s kind of simple to write this album of as a very easy way for two well known punk vocalists to cash in on the whole punk goes acoustic trend made popular by Chuck Ragan. But then you’re forgetting that Lagwagon’s Joey Cape and No Use For A Name’s Tony Sly already did an acoustic split record (with the title Acoustic) in 2004. That was three years before Chuck Ragan released his debut Feast Or Famine. So if anything these guys were ahead of their time and took a moment to take some more material of their bands, and record a stripped down version.
Cape pretty much goes through the whole Lagwagon discography covering songs from Thrashed to Resolve. I must say Lagwagon songs like ‘Know It All’ and ‘I Must Be Hateful’ work really good in this setting. Cape is a good singer and gives the songs a whole new life.
Just compare both versions for ‘Know It All’
Whereas I have followed Lagwagon in their later stage, the last No Use For A Name record I checked was 2001′s live album Live In A Dive. Musically Lagwagon seemed to me to be the more interesting band. Thus I also didn’t have high expectations of Tony Sly’s part of this acoustic record. He sure tries harder than Cape adding lots of different instruments and arrangements in comparison with the original versions of songs like ‘ Soulmate’ and ‘Chasing Rainbows’.
Sly goes over the top with ‘Pre-Medicated Murder’ turning it in some sort of tearjerker. He however comes back good with the exclusive track ‘Liver Let Die’. If this is his open sollicitation for a spot on the Revival tour I think he’s got the job.
It’s suprisingly how much I have been playing this record the past couple of days and how it has made me revisit especially the Lagwagon catalogue. Acoustic Volume Two doesn’t feel like a record to cash in. It gives some of the best punk songs of the nineties a well deserved new life.