July 12, 2011 - Silver Sprocket Bicycle Club
Larry And His Flask are typical of most ex-punk rockers that fall in love with bluegrass/old timey music and trade in their tattered jeans and Jawbreaker T-shirts for long-sleeved flannels and crisp dungarees. Their sartorial aesthetic may have changed, but when they pick up an acoustic guitar or a banjo, they still attack it with the same aplomb and fury as when they were plugged in. And like many of these groups, LAHF has made their hay stirring boozy concertgoers into a dancing frenzy. But unlike their peers, this Redmond, Oregon, outfit capture some of that raucous onstage energy in a studio setting.
With few exceptions, the emphasis on All That We Know is furious string picking, boot-stomping rhythms and plenty of opportunities to show off the band's impressive harmonizing. Close your eyes, and you can envision the drunken ladies bouncing around a dark club wired on sugary drinks and bonhomie. Still, once the alcohol wears off, those same people might realize just how same-y all of the jumpier anthems on this disc are. The limitations of Ian Cook's lead singing will come into stark relief, even as you marvel at how well the rest of the singers fall into a nice chorus behind him. Otherwise, the punchy staccato rhythm starts to wear.
Yes, the fury of one big blast of gaiety after the other feels pretty good when you don't want the buzz to end. LAHF ease up on the gas pedal here and there on All That We Know—the woozy "End Of An Era" is a particular delight—but those are likely the ones that will be skipped right over for the more agitated tracks around them. Let those folks drop their impulse-purchase CDs at a garage sale or re-sale shop, and hopefully get them into the hands of folks that will appreciate them.