jezz: Against Me! are rough-as-guts punk with a touch of folk and politics: the best kind of punk.
This record puts them under the amplifying… er… magnification… of a stadium-rock producer, and the result is a thrumming killer combo of tracks: fast, ruthless, refined, easy to listen to and bloody enjoyable.
This one might not have that authentic, “My Life Is A Urine-Soaked Gutter” atmosphere of their previous effort, but at the end of the day it’s better music from start to finish. And who wants to feel like they’re being pissed-upon by a blind hobo after a hard day at work? Not me. Not me.
Well. Not usually.
spin: Near the end of 2005′s Searching for a Former Clarity, Against Me! frontman Tom Gabel succinctly summed up his band’s blunt message: “Don’t lose touch,” he commanded in a hoarse all-ages holler — with reality, with integrity, with one another. Gabel is a folk-punk rabble-rouser in the frayed-and-furious tradition of Joe Strummer, Billy Bragg, and Ted Leo; and for the past decade, he’s been writing songs about the struggle to stay active and earthbound in a culture hell-bent on medicated disengagement. Even more than your quintessential street rapper, Gabel is obsessed with keeping it real.
Fortunately, he’s also as concerned with keeping it entertaining. New Wave is Against Me!’s Butch Vig-produced major-label debut, and it sounds like it: Where the band’s three previous studio albums crackled with scrappy DIY brio, New Wave stomps like big-budget radio rock, all swarming guitars and gang-vocal thrust. As he did with Nirvana’s Nevermind, Vig both sweetens and strengthens Against Me!’s attack without sacrificing the band’s innate Raggedy Andy appeal.>>